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ISIS to U.S.: It’s on

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 5:54 pm - November 14, 2014.
Filed under: Economy,Iraq,National Security

As noted today on Zero Hedge and The Telegraph, ISIS has released some details of its plans for a gold-backed currency:

What does this mean? As I’ve tried to explain before, the U.S. dollar has been the center of world trade and finance since the end of WW2. Oil, among other things, has been traded in dollars. So other countries need dollars (e.g., before they can buy oil). When they invest in bonds, they also like U.S. Treasury bonds.

All that has let the U.S. get away with running large deficits (both trade deficit and fiscal deficit). Other countries send us real goods in exchange for our paper (or electronic) dollars and Treasury bonds. That is why Walmart and Target have been able to supply cheap goods to Americans, all these years.

ISIS is saying, forget that! ISIS will exclude the dollar from its own financial system, and probably from its dealings with other countries. Remember, if these guys are successful, they will sell (or control) a lot of oil. If successful, they will be wealthy and important. Now they’re saying that their financial system will be founded on precious metals – i.e., NOT on the U.S. dollar or the U.S. Treasury bond. I feel certain that, if they aren’t doing so already, ISIS will also be trading oil only in non-U.S. currencies like the Euro or yen, and/or in gold.

If ISIS succeeds as a country, then, it’s another step in the world’s process of “de-dollarization”, or removing the U.S. dollar as the centerpiece of the world system. Although it is arguably an understandable and well-justified act, it is not a friendly act: ISIS is taking aim at (what they perceive to be) the heart of U.S. prosperity and power in the world.

I expect that the alarm bells in Washington are ringing a bit louder. At a minimum, look for President Obama to escalate his rhetoric against ISIS, with bipartisan support. (Which will mean, in the Democrats’ case, going against their own anti-U.S. / pro-Islam instincts; but they will.)

Too clever for anyone’s good

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 9:45 am - October 17, 2014.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,Iraq,National Security,Republican Embarrassments

To follow up on V’s post about chemical weapons found in Iraq: Guess Who, in the Bush administration, didn’t want anyone talking about the weapons?

Theories vary, but according to Eli Lake’s article, it would have been Karl Rove:

Starting in 2004, some members of the George W. Bush administration and Republican lawmakers began to find evidence of discarded chemical weapons in Iraq. But when the information was brought up with the White House, senior adviser Karl Rove told them to “let these sleeping dogs lie.”

The issue of Iraq’s WMD remnants was suddenly thrust back into the fore this week, with a blockbuster New York Times report accusing the Bush administration of covering up American troops’ chemically induced wounds…

Dave Wurmser—who served at the time as a senior adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney on national-security issues—remembers…“In 2005-6, Karl Rove and his team blocked public disclosure of these findings and said, ‘Let these sleeping dogs lie; we have lost that fight so better not to remind anyone of it.’”

Rove’s reasons make sense. Except they don’t.

It’s true that a lot of politics is about Controlling The Narrative, and you want people talking about the narratives that work for your side. So you talk up the narratives that do, and you shut up about the ones that don’t. It is sometimes called “message discipline” or “staying on message”.

Except in one important case: WHEN YOU’VE BEEN LIED ABOUT. When someone (the Left) has lied about your integrity or key issue maliciously, you don’t pass up chances to air the exculpatory evidence – also known as The Truth – which will expose your opponents as liars. Especially when those chances to air the truth aren’t going to cost you much.

If Lake’s story is accurate, Rove was so clever about Controlling The Narrative that he lost sight of the most important narrative of all: Spreading the truth. Getting the real story out.

Rove may also have lost sight of the next most important narrative, Obeying the law:

After the U.S. found thousands of the old chemical-weapons shells, Wurmser and others at one point argued that they had an obligation to declare the stocks of chemical weapons under the Chemical Weapons Convention and destroy them. The United States was, after all, the occupier of Iraq and had assumed the country’s sovereign responsibilities as a signatory to the convention.

“It was all for nothing; Rove wanted the issue buried,” Wurmser said.

The law being the Chemical Weapons Convention, in this case.

I should acknowledge here that, if Lake’s story is accurate, then the rise of ISIS isn’t 100% the Obama administration’s fault. Oh yes, it’s largely their fault: the Obama administration was quite negligent in letting the Islamists in Iraq make a comeback. But apparently, the Bush administration may have been negligent in its failure to declare-and-destroy Saddam’s WMD stockpiles.

But where was Hillary in all this?

Leon Panetta, former top Clinton staffer and Obama CIA director, is out there serving the Clintons by taking shots at President Obama…errrr, excuse me, out there promoting his new book:

For Bill Clinton, history will remember that he “always kept fighting back” to get things done…“Whether it was Democrats or Republicans, you know, he found a way to be able to do some things, to be able to accomplish some things that were important.”

He makes a similar observation about Hillary Clinton, saying she would be a “great” president. “One thing about the Clintons is, they want to get it done,” he says, in words that draw an implicit contrast with Obama…

And Barack Obama’s legacy?

“We are at a point where I think the jury is still out,” Panetta says. “For the first four years, and the time I spent there, I thought he was a strong leader on security issues. … But these last two years I think he kind of lost his way.

“These last two years” – translation, since the indispensable, brilliant Hillary left – so no, nothing happening now is her fault.

But let’s get down to specifics, Mr. Panetta. How has Obama lost his way? From Politico:

Panetta’s criticisms of the Obama administration are similar to the criticisms former Defense Secretary Robert Gates laid out in his own memoir: that those inside the White House sometimes put politics first on matters of war and peace.

Panetta describes efforts to reach a deal with Iraq to allow U.S. troops to remain in the country in the runup to the December 2011 expiration of the status-of-forces agreement — a deal Obama has said he couldn’t achieve because Iraqi leaders wanted U.S. troops gone. “Privately, the various leadership factions in Iraq all confided that they wanted some U.S. forces to remain as a bulwark against sectarian violence,” Panetta writes…

“I privately and publicly advocated for a residual force that could provide training and security for Iraq’s military…But the president’s team at the White House pushed back…”

2011…isn’t that more like three years ago?

So, let’s see. Panetta, Gates, and the Joint Chiefs all pushed in 2011 for a residual U.S. force in Iraq, that would have prevented today’s crisis with ISIS. (Sorry for the rhyme.) They even did so publicly. Did Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton? Perhaps a little, but not very much. From Jennifer Rubin in June 2014:

Clinton’s failure to impress upon the president the importance of a significant force and to negotiate a deal with Iraq under whatever circumstances existed represents a key failure – one that has directly contributed to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the collapse of the Iraqi military.

So for “PBS NewsHour” Clinton tried out a new tale: “Certainly when President Obama had to make the decision about what to do, he was deciding based on what the Bush administration had already determined, because they were the ones who said troops have to be out by the end of 2011.”

This is patently untrue. The Bush team had always intended that there be a follow-up to the SOFA [Status of Forces Agreement]…The game plan for the Bush team and the Obama team was to conclude a deal [to leave a residual force]; Clinton and her boss failed to do so.

For Hillary to claim that the Bushies planned on having all troops out by 2011 is itself a potshot at Obama. If true, it would mean that Obama hardly did anything to “end the war” – he only followed a Bush plan.

But what does all of this add up to? Well, Clinton Central has evidently decided that the way to get elected in 2016 is:

  1. Keep playing the “Blame Bush” card when possible. And if it isn’t possible,
  2. Blame Obama.

As always, we should expect the Clintons to tell a mixture of truth and falsehoods to get what they want, which is: Power.

A penny drops

When someone who is lost in a maelstrom of demented falsehoods (leftism) glimpses even a fragment of truth, even if that person has a long way to go, that little glimpse makes the angels sing.

Today, it’s Cindy Sheehan.

Tuesday on NewsmaxTV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show,” anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan said in 2005 Nancy Pelosi and top Democrat leaders in the House and Senate said to her face that if she helped them get elected they would end the wars completely, but now they have stopped supporting her…

Sheehan said the left anti war movement is being ignored by the democrats because they are “reverse racists” who are supporting Obama only because he is an African-American.

She said, “I think that there are some people on the so called left, who might say we have to circle our wagons around the first African American president, and to me that is racism in reverse because his policies are actually still the racist policies of empire.”

So… Nancy Pelosi lies to people’s faces and uses them? Obama is what the Left always accused Bush of being? Democrats are racists who only voted for him on skin color? What goes around, comes around?

My, oh my.

Wait…Who underestimated ISIS?

Obama says US ‘underestimated’ rise of ISIS, admits ‘contradictory’ Syria policy:

President Obama acknowledged Sunday that U.S. intelligence officials “underestimated” the threat posed by the Islamic State and overestimated the Iraqi army’s capacity to defeat the militant group…

Let’s be clear: Officials who were chosen and supported by Obama. The administration of Barack Hussein Obama underestimated ISIS.

Or else, we can make this entry #39,422 in the files of “Obama pretends that he hasn’t been president all these years”. In the interview, Obama goes on to also blame Iraq’s PM al-Maliki for the problems; never himself.

One more thing. Does Obama still have the U.S. backing the world’s evil dictators? It seems so:

Obama also acknowledged that the U.S. is dealing with a conundrum in Syria, as the U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State is helping Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom the U.N. has accused of war crimes.

“I recognize the contradiction in a contradictory land and a contradictory circumstance,” Obama said…

Bush practically would have been impeached, for saying that. (And Bush wouldn’t have said it because Bush did what he could, to push U.S. policy in the direction of overthrowing the world’s evil dictators.)

One more thing. Has Obama made it a thing of the past, that the U.S. might strike its enemies pre-emptively (or perhaps unilaterally, as the Left calls it)? Not so much:

Obama called the threat from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and other terror groups a more “immediate concern that has to be dealt with…” “…in terms of immediate threats to the United States, ISIL, Khorasan Group — those folks could kill Americans,” he said…

Both groups have been targeted by U.S. airstrikes in recent days…

Barack Obama: Just what the Left always *accused* Bush of being. And of course, the media lets him get away with it.

UPDATE: Some Democrats agree that it was the Obama White House, more than the U.S. intelligence community, which underestimated ISIS.

Former Rear Admiral Joe Sestak, a two-term Democratic member of the House of Representatives…appeared to surprise his MSNBC interlocutor when he noted that the only people who got ISIS wrong work in the Obama administration.

“If you remember back in January and February, the head — the general, the Defense Intelligence Agency, actually testified before the House and Senate that in 2014, ISIS would take over large swaths of territory,” the Navy veteran asserted. “In fact, at the time he testified, they had already seized Ramadi and Fallujah — 35 miles from Baghdad.”

A decade ago, Fallujah was a crucial victory for the Marines (some of whom gave their lives) against an earlier version of ISIS. I guess Obama threw it back.

UPDATE: A report that Obama was warned about ISIS in 2012. As Ed Morrissey puts it:

…the US intelligence community told him of the danger at the same time Obama ridiculed Mitt Romney during the presidential debates…for wanting a residual force in Iraq to prevent exactly what Romney warned would happen.

Iraq

Just one link today and no lengthy comment for it. All I can say is: This is what happens when America wills itself to be led by a president who truly, deep down, does not understand or believe in America.

Syria vs. Iraq

With the 2003 Iraq war, President Bush dealt with a widely-acknowledged threat to world peace, a dictator who had attacked no less than four of his neighbors (at different times, with one such war costing probably over a million lives), and who sheltered and supported various terrorists.

Bush had the participation of 40 other nations in a coalition. The move was authorized by an accumulation of 17 U.N. resolutions, which had effectively voided the dictator’s sovereignty and promised him action over his continued flouting of the U.N.

Most important, Bush’s move was authorized by Congress (as required by the U.S. Constitution) and as well, was supported by clear majorities of the American people at the time.

We can still argue (with hindsight) about the wisdom of the move, if its aftermath was planned right, etc. But the above were and are facts. Do any of them apply to what President Obama has done in Libya, or may be about to do in Syria?

Lefties bleated that Bush had plunged America into a unilateral, illegal/unauthorized “war of choice”. Their claims were wrong on the facts, but let’s set that aside. Has not their President Obama actually plunged America into one near-unilateral, unauthorized “war of choice” – and threatens now to do a second?

Today as yesterday, I’m a bit skeptical of the Obama administration’s version of events in Syria. Not because Syria has just accused Kerry of lying (and, sadly, both Assad and Kerry are known to lie about important matters). Not even because reports continue to suggest that Obama means to bypass Congress, as well as the U.N.

No, I’m still skeptical because of the slap-dash feeling to the public buildup of this crisis. Many of us have heard reports that the U.S. military has been building up to move against something/someone, for weeks if not months. I myself have a friend in the Army who was put on a rather mysterious regime of 80-hour work weeks, starting over two months ago. I thought maybe they were getting ready to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. And then suddenly, just in the last few days, Kerry is there to claim justification for some sort of military action on Syria, from a very recent chemical weapons attack which – while quite horrible and tragic – is still in active debate as to its authorship.

The Obama administration could be telling the truth, like I said yesterday, but… it still doesn’t smell right. The Iraq war build-up was relatively more ‘in the open’, the culmination of years of public debate about a long-term threat.

What ARE the aims of Obama’s foreign policy?

Victor Davis Hanson published a memorable piece in the National Review last week entitled “America as Pill Bug.”  The pill bug or the roly-poly bug is one that turns itself into a ball when it feels threatened.  Hanson writes:

That roly-poly bug can serve as a fair symbol of present-day U.S. foreign policy, especially in our understandable weariness over Iraq, Afghanistan, and the scandals that are overwhelming the Obama administration.

On August 4, U.S. embassies across the Middle East simply closed on the basis of intelligence reports of planned al-Qaeda violence. The shutdown of 21 diplomatic facilities was the most extensive in recent American history.

Yet we still have over a month to go before the twelfth anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001, an iconic date for radical Islamists.

Such preemptive measures are no doubt sober and judicious. Yet if we shut down our entire public profile in the Middle East on the threat of terrorism, what will we do when more anti-American violence arises? Should we close more embassies for more days, or return home altogether?

Hanson makes an excellent point about the way the Obama administration’s closure of embassies is likely to be viewed in the Arab world and around the globe.  Although, as Jeff pointed out in a post last week, the administration may have ulterior motives–by trying to create a distraction–by closing the embassies in this manner, the reality is that the interpretation of the administration’s actions by our international foes is likely to proceed in a manner similar to that Hanson envisions in his article.

Hanson looks at the example of Libya and Syria to illustrate that the administration’s “lead from behind” strategy is not working, and that it appears to be counterproductive:

Instead, the terrorists are getting their second wind, as they interpret our loud magnanimity as weakness — or, more likely, simple confusion. They increasingly do not seem to fear U.S. retaliation for any planned assaults. Instead, al-Qaeda franchises expect Americans to adopt their new pill-bug mode of curling up until danger passes.

Our enemies have grounds for such cockiness. President Obama promised swift punishment for those who attacked U.S. installations in Benghazi and killed four Americans. So far the killers roam free. Rumors abound that they have been seen publicly in Libya.

Instead of blaming radical Islamist killers for that attack, the Obama reelection campaign team fobbed the assault off as the reaction to a supposedly right-wing, Islamophobic videomaker. That yarn was untrue and was greeted as politically correct appeasement in the Middle East.

All these Libyan developments took place against a backdrop of “lead from behind.” Was it wise for American officials to brag that the world’s largest military had taken a subordinate role in removing Moammar Qaddafi — in a military operation contingent on approval from the United Nations and the Arab League but not the U.S. Congress?

No one knows what to do about the mess in Syria. But when you do not know what to do, it is imprudent to periodically lay down “red lines.” Yet the administration has done just that to the Bashar al-Assad regime over the last two years.

Hanson sees the Obama administration’s foreign policy as a disastrous replay of the Carter doctrine, once again illustrating Glenn Reynolds’ frequent observation that a replay of Jimmy Carter is simply the “best-case scenario” for Obama.

While I believe Hanson is right in his characterization of the big picture and the likely consequences of Obama foreign policy, I’d differ from him in seeing Obama as being as feckless and weak as Carter.  I’d maintain that Carter’s foreign policy was guided by a number of naive precepts about the nature of the world.  At least during the years of his presidency, I’d contend that Carter “meant well” in the way the phrase is commonly used to describe a hopelessly incompetent bumbler who seems incapable of recognizing his own shortcomings.  Likewise, early in the Obama administration, Tammy Bruce started referring to Obama as Urkel, the nerdy, awkward, inept kid from the TV show “Family Matters” who had an uncanny ability to mess up almost everything he touched.  That certainly is one narrative for what Obama is doing in the world of foreign policy, but I’m not sure it is the right one.

As I contemplate Obama foreign policy, though, particularly in the Middle East, I find myself thinking more and more that although incompetence might be the simplest explanation, it might not be the best or the right one.  I see no good intentions in the administration’s domestic policy, so why should its foreign policy be exempt from charges that it is motivated more by malevolence to the United States and its role in history than by a supposed set of “liberal” ideals?

This is an administration that seems bent on alienating all of our historical allies as quickly as possible, while taking it easy on our geopolitical foes.  Obama seems to want our allies to view us as unreliable and untrustworthy while making sure our enemies view us as weak, indecisive, and either unable or unwilling to use force to protect our interests or to enforce our stated policy goals.  If there is a better explanation of the administration’s ultimate foreign policy goals, I’d sure like to know what it might be.

 

VICTORY IN IRAQ BY US FORCES

Under the command of two Commanders-in-Chiefs, our US Armed Forces have performed brilliantly since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.  The last full combat brigade left Iraq left Wednesday with little of the media coverage that began with “Shock and Awe”, “Baghdad Bob”, and eventually saw Saddam cowering in a spider hole.

When the men and women of Fourth Brigade, Second Infantry Division deployed to Iraq in April 2007 as part of President Bush’s surge, American soldiers were being killed or wounded at a rate of about 750 a month, the country was falling to sectarian mayhem, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had declared that the war was “lost.”

On Wednesday, the “Raiders” became the last combat brigade to leave Iraq, having helped to defeat an insurgency, secure a democracy and uphold the honor of American arms.

The classic lament about the war in Iraq is that it achieved little at a huge cost in American lives, treasure and reputation. That view rests on a kind of amnesia about the nature of Saddam Hussein’s regime, his 12-year defiance of binding U.N. resolutions, the threat he posed to its neighbors, the belief—shared by the Clinton and Bush Administrations and intelligence services world-wide—that he was armed with weapons of mass destruction, the complete corruption of the U.N. sanctions regime designed to contain him, and the fact that he intended to restart his WMD programs once the sanctions had collapsed.

Those were the realities when the coalition marched into Iraq. In supporting the war on the eve of that invasion, we noted that “the law of unintended consequences hasn’t been repealed” and that “toppling Saddam is a long-term undertaking,” while warning that “liberal pundits and politicians are fickle interventionists” who were “apt to run for moral cover” when the going got tough. As they did.

Their opposition might well have led to defeat had not Mr. Bush defied Congress and the recommendations of his own Iraq Study Group in favor of the 2007 surge, which history will likely recall as Mr. Bush’s finest hour. To his credit, President Obama has also delivered on the “responsible withdrawal” he promised in his campaign.

This admirable American effort has now given Iraqis the opportunity to govern themselves democratically. We supported the Iraq invasion primarily for reasons of U.S. national security. But a successful war also held the promise that it could create, in a major Arab state, a model for governance that would result in something better than the secular or religious dictatorships that have so often bred brutality and radicalism—which has increasingly reached our own shores. The fact that Iraq has a functioning judiciary, and that Iraqi voters have rejected their most sectarian parties at the polls, is cause for hope that the country is moving in that direction.

This is true despite the five months of political stalemate that have gripped the country since March’s parliamentary elections resulted in an effective tie between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his principal challenger Ayad Allawi. Political gridlock is frustrating, but it is sometimes a function of democratic politics. We will soon learn if Iraqi politicians can meet the responsibilities of the democratic moment that American and British blood and treasure have given them.

They will have to do so despite the continuing spoiler role played by Iraq’s neighbors—Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran—who fear a democratic, or Shiite-led, state in their midst. The withdrawal of U.S. combat forces will only increase their ambition to create more trouble.

That makes the mission of the 50,000 U.S. troops that will remain as trainers, advisers and special-ops forces until the end of 2011 all the more crucial. It should also provide incentive for Washington and Baghdad to negotiate a more permanent U.S. military presence, both as a balancing force within the country and especially as a hedge against Iran. Having sacrificed so much for Iraq’s freedom, the U.S. should attempt to reap the shared strategic benefits of a longer-term alliance, as we did after World War II with Japan and Germany.

On the eve of war in 2003, we wrote: “About one thing we have no doubt: the courage of the Americans who will fight in our defense.” Along with all of their comrades in arms, the men and women of Fourth Brigade, Second Infantry have fully vindicated that conviction. Somewhere down the road, we trust that August 18, 2010 will be remembered as Victory in Iraq day.

August 18 SHOULD be VICTORY IN IRAQ DAY if for no other reason than to mark then end of the success that our original mission, further supplemented by the brave decision by President Bush to launch the surge in 2007, is complete.  Yes, US forces will remain as advisors for another year.  But “The War” in Iraq is over.

Where are the homecoming parades?  Where is the outpouring of love of nation toward our brave men and women who were thrust out of their lives when this phase of the Global War began on September 11, 2003?

We’ve made mistakes.  We found no WMD that the entire world’s intel apparatus said we would.  As in past wars, America leaves no imperialist governance behind.  We helped formed a democratic state in the Middle East that now must continue to bloom on its own.  We stole no oil.  We will only leave Americans in Iraq at the behest of its people, or where the blood of the brave have fallen into the hot sand and are never to be returned to the homeland.

We should be celebrating this week.  But we are not.  There are many reasons why.  But when you see a uniformed member of our Armed Forces this Summer and Fall — please stop them and thank them for their and and their families sacrifices.  They are our Greatest Generation and will most likely be called on again to defend and protect the United States of America.

BE PROUD AMERICA:  We liberated a nation of 18 million oppressed people from a satanic dictator who hijacked the Muslim faith for his own glory and power.  BE PROUD!

Thank you to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretarys Rumsfeld & Gates, and General Petreaus.  You won the war as our leaders.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Charlotte Observer, Goodbye

Today marks the first day since I graduated college in 1990 that I’m not a regular subscriber to my local newspaper.  Fair enough — I had given up daily service a few years ago an only opted for Friday, Saturday & Sunday.

But it is time to say goodbye to the dinosaur.  As of today, The Charlotte Observer is not getting anymore of my money.

Why, you may ask?  Because of what is plaguing other local newspapers — editorial bias influencing their “news reporting”.

The past few days have been the last straw.  Part of the Observer’s problem is that they are a McClatchy Newspaper — a well-known liberal publisher.  And these two straws are mostly McClatchy-generated.  But nonetheless they are a symptom of the Observer’s cancer.  They do not report “news”, they advocate for their point of view.  That is fine on the Editorial Page.  But not Section A or the Local News Section.

First straw: Front Page Lies About The Iraq War in Sunday’s paper (posted on the Web last Friday)

When the Bush administration invaded Iraq seven years ago, it pledged to leave behind a democracy that would be a model for the entire Middle East. Instead, it now appears that the United States will leave behind a big question mark.

Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Iraq will start the clock on the withdrawal of U.S. troops, with 50,000 soldiers remaining in an advisory role after Aug. 31 and all of them gone by the end of 2011, if current plans hold.

The elections are, in a sense, the final act of a U.S.-led invasion that the George W. Bush White House sold on false pretenses - nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, an imaginary nuclear-weapons program and fictional al-Qaida ties – and that has cost nearly 4,400 American lives, at least 100,000 Iraqi ones, as much as $3 trillion and untold political capital.

The bolded part is not only editorializing — it is a lie.  ALL of the Western intelligence services concluded the same thing the CIA did: There were WMD, an active nuclear program, and ties to al-Qaida in Saddam’s Iraq.  The phrase “false pretenses” suggests (as most liberals do) that “Bush Lied.”  Was Iraq an intelligence failure?  Certainly.  But everyone who supported the Iraq war did so in a post-9/11 mindset and sincerely believing the intelligence they were given.  That includes Al Gore, Bill & Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry.

Second straw: A Biased Profile of the SC 2nd District Race (Joe Wilson)

You can read the story itself.  Every mention of Wilson is negative, every mention of his opponent is positive.

The Observer can print this drivel on their “news” pages and pretend they aren’t biased.  But I don’ t have to pay for it.

After all, thanks to Obama this economy is even worse than under Bush. THAT is a fact.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Commander In Chief Ignores Troops on Eve of 9/11 Anniversary

Unlike Dan (below), I did watch the president’s speech to Congress tonight and couldn’t have been more disappointed in his choices.

While there is a lot to say that I’ll address when I get a chance to reflect a bit more on the text of the speech, I didn’t want to go to bed tonight before making the following observation and getting something off my chest:

The last time a Joint Session of Congress was addressed by a president for other than the State of the Union (and a SotU-lite after being Innaugurated) was September 20, 2001 when President George W. Bush addressed the Nation as being “a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom.” We were about to enter a war that persists to this day.

Nearly eight years to the day after terrorists attacked defenseless civilians in the most dispicable act of destruction on the United States by a foreign entity in history, following the deadliest month so far in the war that ensued, and as a weary Nation begins anew to waver on the necessity of the battle, our current president decided that matters were so dire that another Joint Session needed to be called for an address by him. Things indeed are so grave, that, in his own words, if we do not act, “more will die”.

Only problem is that what was so dire to him is not the very existence of our Nation at the hands of these terrorists, nor the desperately needed pep-talk to reinvigorate the spirit that led us once to nearly unanimously support the need for action in this battle.

No, it was the need he feels to Stalinize the most productive and effective health care industry in the world.

In fact, so unimportant are our troops’ current efforts to defeat the terrorist threat to their Commander in Chief that the words “Afganistan” and “Iraq” passed his lips exactly one time each, and in the same breath, and only to dismiss them as having cost more (in dollars, mind you, not lives) than his (erroneous) projection for this government take-over. What’s more, his use of the present perfect sense (to nit-pick) makes it seem as though he’s speaking of a war already over, not currently being waged.

I have given this man incredible credit over the past 8 months for correct positions he has taken on (some) national defense issues and military concerns. His timing and explicit avoidance of those of us who are fighting and dying daily in the war he did support on the eve of this solemn anniversary and on the heels of such a devastating month of losses is completely inexcusable.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)

April Deadliest Month For US In Iraq Since….

Let’s see, April turns out to be the deadliest month for US troops since November 2008.

The U.S. death toll for April rose to 18, the military said Friday, making it the deadliest in seven months for American forces in Iraq. The sharp increase from the previous month came as a series of bombings also pushed Iraqi deaths to their highest level this year.

In the latest violence, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a restaurant on the reservoir of Iraq’s largest dam near the northern city of Mosul. At least five people were killed and 10 wounded, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials.

The spike in attacks has raised concerns that insurgents are stepping up their efforts to re-ignite sectarian bloodshed as well as questions about the readiness of the Iraqis to take over responsibility for their own security as U.S. troops begin to withdraw.

Something different has happened in the past seven months.  I can’t quite put my finger on it….. I know it will come to me.  *tapping foot*  What…is…it….that…happened…in November 2008?

Hmmm, maybe my intelligent readers will be able to help me remember what may have changed in the past seven months to make things more dangerous in Iraq?

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Federal Court Rules Democrat Murtha Is Above The Law

Once again, the Washington power elites are above the law and stick together.  Jack Murtha faces no accountability for his actions — because he is in Congress. (h/t – Instapundit)

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Rep. John Murtha cannot be sued for accusing U.S. Marines of murdering Iraqi civilians “in cold blood,” remarks that sparked outrage among conservative commentators.

The appeals court in Washington dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by a Marine who led the squad in the attack. The judges agreed with Murtha that he was immune from the lawsuit because he was acting in his official role as a lawmaker when he made the comments to reporters.

Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich of Meriden, Conn., claimed Murtha damaged his reputation by saying the squad he was leading engaged in “cold-blooded murder and war crimes” in Haditha, Iraq, on Nov. 19, 2005.

At a Capitol Hill news conference in May 2006, Murtha predicted that a Pentagon war crimes investigation would show the Marines killed dozens of innocent Iraqi civilians in Haditha.

<…>

Wuterich’s attorney Mark S. Zaid said that despite the appeals court ruling, Murtha should apologize for his statements.

“It is disappointing that the court has placed members of Congress on a special pedestal and granted them carte blanche immunity to defame anyone they choose as part of their official responsibilities without even allowing a victim to expose the actual facts that are known only to the perpetrator,” Zaid said.

And the courageous Americans who volunteered to defend this nation and its principles are on the butt end of this court’s ruling.

Of course, the “racists” in Johnstown, PA (Murtha’s words, not mine) re-elected him.  So they deserve their traitorous Congressman.  But the rest of us don’t.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

McCain, Lieberman: Iraq Is Won, Praise Obama’s National Security Team

With the symptoms and root cause of Bush Derangement Syndrome ending in a month, and the GOP moderates gellin’ behind Obama on foreign policy… is a consensus of Victory in Iraq possible?  And will bipartisanship on the Global War On Terror be reborn?

For the past several years, Iraq has divided and polarized our parties, our policymakers and our people. The debate over the war has often been disfigured by politics and partisanship, precluding the national consensus so important to American security in a dangerous world. President-elect Barack Obama has the opportunity to end this destructive dynamic and rebuild a bipartisan consensus on American foreign policy, including the way forward in Iraq. In naming talented, principled and pragmatic leaders to his national security cabinet, the president-elect has already demonstrated that he wants to set aside foreign policy politics as usual.

Now the very capable leadership team of Defense Secretary Bob Gates, Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton and Gen. Jim Jones, the incoming national security adviser, can apply their bipartisan credentials to help the president-elect forge an Iraq policy that will garner the support of Democrats and Republicans alike.

This outcome is not yet guaranteed, even with all the success we have seen over the previous two years in Iraq. That is what makes it all the more important that Republicans and Democrats put aside the differences over Iraq that have divided us in the past. The president-elect has the chance to repair this breach in our politics by adopting a set of policies, resting on the best judgments of our commanders and diplomats on the ground, that all of us — Democrats and Republicans alike — will be able to support. We have high hopes that he will do so.

Only time will tell.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:
IRAQ WAR IS WON

By any and all accounts of measuring success (including the American liberals’ ever changing goals), we can finally mark the day that America can finally declare “Victory In Iraq.”   A number of bloggers were declaring 11/22/2008 (last Saturday) as “V.I. Day” — and that date is as good as any.

But it was this week that, militarily and politically, the Armed Forces of the United States of America Officially Won The War In Iraq. 

BAGHDAD — The long, costly story of American military involvement in Iraq moved closer to an end Thursday when Iraq’s parliament approved a pact that requires all troops to be out in three years, marking the first clear timetable for a U.S. exit since the 2003 invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

The vote followed months of talks between U.S. and Iraqi negotiators that at times seemed on the point of collapse, and then days of dealmaking between ethnic and sectarian groups whose centuries-old rifts had hardened during the first four years of the war.

Three United States heroes are primarily responsible for Victory In Iraq:  General David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and the Commander In Chief, President George W. Bush. 

However… the ultimate credit and praise goes to the nameless and faceless:   The many, many American heroes in uniform (some still fighting; some never coming home), the American civil servants in the Green Zone, the countless Americans volunteering in Iraq out of compassion, and millions of ordinary Iraqis stepping up out of the dust clouds and raising their voices for freedom.

The War Against Islamic Fundamentalism is far from over.  But the forces of evil suffered a known defeat in the sands of Iraq at the hands of Western liberal democracies.  It wasn’t pretty — but war is hell.

AMERICA SHOULD BE VERY PROUD OF THE VICTORY IN IRAQ.   Yes, it came at a terrible cost, as all marches toward freedom do.  But history shall be the ultimate judge of how the Post-9/11 world is safer because Saddam Hussein was not a part of it.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Obama Defies Sgt. Jopek’s Family
In Wearing “Whats-His-Name’s” Bracelet

If this doesn’t turn the stomach of every voter in America that hasn’t yet been brainwashed by The One or intimidated by the Obama Goons, nothing will.

Soldier’s Family Told Obama Not to Wear Son’s Bracelet – Gateway Pundit

Barack Obama played the “me too” game during the Friday debates on September 26 after Senator John McCain mentioned that he was wearing a bracelet with the name of Cpl. Matthew Stanley, a resident of New Hampshire and a soldier that lost his life in Iraq in 2006. Obama said that he too had a bracelet. After fumbling and straining to remember the name, he revealed that his had the name of Sergeant Ryan David Jopek of Merrill, Wisconsin.

Shockingly, however, Madison resident Brian Jopek, the father of Ryan Jopek, the young soldier who tragically lost his life to a roadside bomb in 2006, recently said on a Wisconsin Public Radio show that his family had asked Barack Obama to stop wearing the bracelet with his son’s name on it. Yet Obama continues to do so despite the wishes of the family.

How dare Senator Obama use the name of a dead Army soldier, whose name he can’t remember, as a sheer political stunt.  And against the wishes of Sgt. Jopek’s family, nonetheless.  

Senator McCain wears his bracelet in kinship and shared sacrifice with the family of Cpl. Matthew Stanley.

Senator Obama wears his bracelet in an arrogant defiance of what America stands for.  To Obama, the bracelet is yet another prop for his campaign, like the American flag he once did not wear on his lapel.

He makes me sick.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

The Final Words of an American Hero

“The U.S. Army has provided me such a wonderful opportunity to realize my dreams to go to college and see parts of the world that I had only read about in schoolbooks. I’ve been to countries that many only dream about. Walked the streets of Europe: Paris, Greece, Spain, Germany, England, Italy, Czech Republic. I’ve seen Asia, South America, and, of course, the Middle East. . . . As you know I’ve been raised in the Church and have always had a love, reverence, and fascination for God. I am blessed to be saved by His grace, and so I know that I am going up yonder to be with my Lord. Please tell those who remain not to grieve too much but to have a big party and celebrate. . . . My only regret is that I have never found that special one to grow old with and watch the sunset with.” — US Army Major Alan G. Rogers.  Killed in action - Jan. 27, 2008.

I am posting this after just reading a lengthy story about Major Rogers in the August 4 edition of The New Yorker.  It is a very moving piece and I’m thrilled that the reporter, Ben McGrath, took the time to learn all of the aspects of Major Rogers’ life, friends and personal struggles. 

I was made aware of Rogers’ sexual orientation shortly after his death and I struggled how to report on it at the time.  I think it is much more appropriate that McGrath’s profile puts some time between Rogers’ death.  Most importantly, the article doesn’t just focus on one aspect of what made Major Rogers a special man.

The words I have quoted at the top are Rogers’ own from an unfinished letter he was writing to the executor of his will.

I urge you to read the entire article.  Rogers was a very complex man who served this country honorably and was by all definition a true American hero and patriot.

Also, please stop by his remembrance page at the Washington Post’s Legacy.com site.  If you have any doubt how this man impacted those he knew, and those of us he protected, just read the tributes to him.

[RELATED STORY - Remembering Alan Rogers on Memorial Day – GayPatriotWest]

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Former Clinton Aide & Current NYT Editor Rejects McCain Column

…because it doesn’t “mirror” Obama’s. Media bias? What media bias? Here is the text of McCain’s column that was rejected, courtesy of The Drudge Report:

In January 2007, when General David Petraeus took command in Iraq, he called the situation “hard” but not “hopeless.” Today, 18 months later, violence has fallen by up to 80% to the lowest levels in four years, and Sunni and Shiite terrorists are reeling from a string of defeats. The situation now is full of hope, but considerable hard work remains to consolidate our fragile gains.

Progress has been due primarily to an increase in the number of troops and a change in their strategy. I was an early advocate of the surge at a time when it had few supporters in Washington. Senator Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent. “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,” he said on January 10, 2007. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”

Now Senator Obama has been forced to acknowledge that “our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence.” But he still denies that any political progress has resulted.

Perhaps he is unaware that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has recently certified that, as one news article put it, “Iraq has met all but three of 18 original benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress.” Even more heartening has been progress that’s not measured by the benchmarks. More than 90,000 Iraqis, many of them Sunnis who once fought against the government, have signed up as Sons of Iraq to fight against the terrorists. Nor do they measure Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s new-found willingness to crack down on Shiite extremists in Basra and Sadr City—actions that have done much to dispel suspicions of sectarianism.

The success of the surge has not changed Senator Obama’s determination to pull out all of our combat troops. All that has changed is his rationale. In a New York Times op-ed and a speech this week, he offered his “plan for Iraq” in advance of his first “fact finding” trip to that country in more than three years. It consisted of the same old proposal to pull all of our troops out within 16 months. In 2007 he wanted to withdraw because he thought the war was lost. If we had taken his advice, it would have been. Now he wants to withdraw because he thinks Iraqis no longer need our assistance.

To make this point, he mangles the evidence. He makes it sound as if Prime Minister Maliki has endorsed the Obama timetable, when all he has said is that he would like a plan for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops at some unspecified point in the future.

Senator Obama is also misleading on the Iraqi military’s readiness. The Iraqi Army will be equipped and trained by the middle of next year, but this does not, as Senator Obama suggests, mean that they will then be ready to secure their country without a good deal of help. The Iraqi Air Force, for one, still lags behind, and no modern army can operate without air cover. The Iraqis are also still learning how to conduct planning, logistics, command and control, communications, and other complicated functions needed to support frontline troops.

No one favors a permanent U.S. presence, as Senator Obama charges. A partial withdrawal has already occurred with the departure of five “surge” brigades, and more withdrawals can take place as the security situation improves. As we draw down in Iraq, we can beef up our presence on other battlefields, such as Afghanistan, without fear of leaving a failed state behind. I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.

But I have also said that any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons. This is the crux of my disagreement with Senator Obama.

Senator Obama has said that he would consult our commanders on the ground and Iraqi leaders, but he did no such thing before releasing his “plan for Iraq.” Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t want to hear what they have to say. During the course of eight visits to Iraq, I have heard many times from our troops what Major General Jeffrey Hammond, commander of coalition forces in Baghdad, recently said: that leaving based on a timetable would be “very dangerous.”

The danger is that extremists supported by Al Qaeda and Iran could stage a comeback, as they have in the past when we’ve had too few troops in Iraq. Senator Obama seems to have learned nothing from recent history. I find it ironic that he is emulating the worst mistake of the Bush administration by waving the “Mission Accomplished” banner prematurely.

I am also dismayed that he never talks about winning the war—only of ending it. But if we don’t win the war, our enemies will. A triumph for the terrorists would be a disaster for us. That is something I will not allow to happen as president. Instead I will continue implementing a proven counterinsurgency strategy not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan with the goal of creating stable, secure, self-sustaining democratic allies.

This partisan hack of an editor is dreaming if he seriously thinks the Times has the influence and control it once held. Thanks to new outlets like Drudge and blogs, what used to be buried by a deliberate news blackout still gets out.

For more see Gateway Pundit & Hot Air.

– John (Average Gay Joe)

Obama vs. Obama On Iraq

I really can’t add much to this….

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

WaPo On Obama:
The Emporer Has No Clothes

The Washington Post comes pretty close today to figuring it out. With Senator Obama… there is no “there” there.

On Policy, Obama Breaks Little New Ground – Washington Post (subscription required)

When Obama changed his mind and decided to run for president after only two years in the Senate, however, he effectively dismissed the importance of policy proposals, declaring in one speech in early 2007, “We’ve had plenty of plans, Democrats,” and in another: “Every four years, somebody trots out a white paper, they post it on the Web.” He cast his “new kind of politics” in terms of his ability to transcend divisions and his unique biography and offered few differences on issues from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and the other Democratic presidential candidates.

Obama has not emphasized any signature domestic issue, or signaled that he would take his party in a specific direction on policy, as Bill Clinton did with his “New Democrat” proposals in 1992 that emphasized welfare reform or as George W. Bush did with his “compassionate conservatism” in 2000, when he called on Republicans to focus more on issues such as education.

Heather Higginbottom, who runs Obama’s policy office at the campaign’s Chicago headquarters, cited education as one area in which Obama offers ideas that are not traditionally Democratic, arguing that the problem is not all about schools or funding, but about parents who let their children watch too much television.

In part, Obama’s approach reflects the broad consensus that has developed during the Democratic primaries.  Unlike Republicans — many of whom disagree with McCain on issues such as global warming and immigration — Democratic presidential candidates, the party’s leaders in Congress and Democratic voters largely agree on an agenda.

It is an agenda hatched in 1972 by George McGovern and reborn on Dec 11, 2000.  Of course Obama is hiding behind “Change and Hope, Hope and Change.”   There is nothing to him but hot air and empty rhetoric.   His failure and disinterest to visit Iraq since 2006, or Afghanistan at all, proves he is not interested in facts, but simply another typical pandering politician of the first liberal order.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)