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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Let’s see, April turns out to be the deadliest month for US troops sinceÂ 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.Â I can’t quite put my finger on it….. I know it will come to me.Â *tapping foot*Â 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?
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.Â So they deserve their traitorous Congressman.Â But the rest of us don’t.
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?Â 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.
By any and all accounts of measuring success (including the American liberals’ ever changing goals),Â we can finally mark the day that America can finally declare “Victory In Iraq.”Â Â 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.Â
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:Â General David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and the Commander In Chief, President George W. Bush.Â
However… the ultimate credit and praise goes to the nameless and faceless:Â Â 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 IraqÂ 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.Â But the forces of evil suffered a known defeat in the sands of Iraq at the hands of Western liberal democracies.Â It wasn’t pretty — but war is hell.
AMERICA SHOULD BE VERY PROUD OF THE VICTORY IN IRAQ.Â Â Yes, it came at a terrible cost, as all marchesÂ toward freedom do.Â 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.
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.Â And against the wishes of Sgt. Jopek’s family, nonetheless.Â Â
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.Â 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.
“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.Â KilledÂ in actionÂ - 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.Â It is a very moving piece and I’mÂ thrilled that the reporter, Ben McGrath, took the time to learn all of the aspects of Major Rogers’ life, friends and personal struggles.Â
I was made aware of Rogers’ sexual orientation shortly after his death and I struggled how to report on it at the time.Â I think it is much more appropriate that McGrath’s profile puts some time between Rogers’ death.Â Most importantly,Â the articleÂ doesn’t just focus on one aspect of what made Major Rogers a special man.
The words I have quoted at the topÂ are Rogers’ own from an unfinished letter he was writing to the executor of his will.
I urge you to read the entire article.Â 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.Â 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]
…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 â€œhardâ€ but not â€œhopeless.â€ 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,â€ he said on January 10, 2007. â€œIn fact, I think it will do the reverse.”
Now Senator Obama has been forced to acknowledge that â€œour troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence.â€ 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, â€œIraq has met all but three of 18 original benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress.â€ 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 Cityâ€”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 â€œplan for Iraqâ€ in advance of his first â€œfact findingâ€ 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 â€œsurgeâ€ 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 â€œplan for Iraq.â€ 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 â€œvery dangerous.â€
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 â€œMission Accomplishedâ€ banner prematurely.
I am also dismayed that he never talks about winning the warâ€”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.
– John (Average Gay Joe)
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.Â 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.Â Of course Obama is hiding behind “Change and Hope, Hope and Change.”Â Â There is nothing to him but hot air and empty rhetoric.Â Â Â 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.
As John McCain said yesterday, “Why is it that Senator Obama wants to sit down with the President of Iran, but hasn’t yet sat down with General Petraeus — the leader of our troops in Iraq?”
Good question. Let’s help encourage Senator Obama and have him visit our troops in Iraq (and Afghanistan) as well as meet with General Petraeus. Surely Obama wants to have all of the facts, since he regularly suggests President Bush only heard what he wanted to hear.
Here’s some encouragement, Barry…
(I’m not sure the counter is working here…. so I refer you to the top of the right sidebar!)
What IS Obama afraid of?
Since there doesn’t seem to be anything on the Boob Tube (oh, can I say that anymore?) tonight, I suggest you pop on over to our little podcast show tonight.
UPDATED: Listen to GayPatriot’s America right here, right now!
8PM EASTERN TIME ON BLOGTALKRADIO.COM
We will be talking about a new documentary focusing on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of the US government. The film is called “Ask Not“.
ASK NOT is a rare and compelling exploration of the effects of the US military’s â€œdon’t ask, don’t tellâ€ policy. The film exposes the tangled political battles that led to the discriminatory law and examines the societal shifts that have occurred since its passage in 1993. Current and veteran gay soldiers reveal how â€œdon’t ask, don’t tellâ€ affects them during their tours of duty, as they struggle to maintain a double life, uncertain of whom they can trust. The film also explores how gay veterans and youth organizers are turning to forms of personal activism to overturn the policy. From a national speaking tour of conservative universities to protests at military recruitment offices, these public events question how the U.S. military can claim to represent democracy and freedom while denying one segment of the population the right to serve.
Our guests tonight include the Director/Producer of the film, Johnny Symons; Al Steinman – Rear Admiral (Retired), USPHS/USCG; and Jarrod Chlapowski & Alexander Nicholson – Deputy Director and Executive Director of Servicemembers United.
Please join in the discussion tonight at GayPatriot’s America!
UPDATE (from John, Average Gay Joe): It was truly a pleasure and an honor to speak with all of these gentlemen last night. I just wanted to share some links to websites that were referred to and others that you can visit for more information.
First of all, 3 of our guests have their own blogs which are interesting to read. For anyone currently serving in the military, thinking of joining or if you just want more information about efforts to repeal the DADT policy, you can contact them through these sites :
Secondly, in addition to Servicemembers United, other fine organizations working to have the ban repealed include the following:
Thirdly, the predecessor group to Servicemembers United spoken about on the podcast, The Call to Duty Tour, has some excellent video and audio I highly recommend to learn more that can be found here. Although these folks were not on last night, if you are interested in listening to a podcast by a gay soldier and his straight buddies who are all currently serving, I highly recommend the DADT Podcast. It’s very entertaining!
Finally, for those interested in giving support to our soldiers overseas, as one listener asked about, please check out some of the fine organizations listed below. Give generously as their service and sacrifices for the country are certainly worth it:
In a very savvy move the other day, John McCain “sharply criticized Democratic rival Barack Obama for not having been to Iraq since 2006, and said they should visit the war zone together”. In his support for the war effort McCain has been remarkably stalwart as Obama has been in seeking defeat at all costs. When it comes to the war against Islamofascists, Obama’s ‘plan’ appears to be nothing more than retreat and appeasement – neither of which he has been very good at disguising in rhetoric for “change” and “hope”.
â€œLook at what happened in the last two years since Senator Obama visited and declared the war lost,â€ the GOP nominee-in-waiting told The Associated Press in an interview, noting that the Illinois senator’s last trip to Iraq came before the military buildup that is credited with curbing violence.
â€œHe really has no experience or knowledge or judgment about the issue of Iraq and he has wanted to surrender for a long time,â€ the Arizona senator added. â€œIf there was any other issue before the American people, and you hadn’t had anything to do with it in a couple of years, I think the American people would judge that very harshly.â€ (Yahoo! News)
As per their usual strategy of spin and ignore, the Obama campaign released this response to McCain’s proposal through its spokesman Bill Burton:
John McCain’s proposal is nothing more than a political stunt, and we don’t need any more â€˜Mission Accomplished’ banners or walks through Baghdad markets to know that Iraq’s leaders have not made the political progress that was the stated purpose of the surge. The American people don’t want any more false promises of progress, they deserve a real debate about a war that has overstretched our military, and cost us thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars without making us safer. (TPM)
What is Obama afraid of? Even if the idea of travelling to Iraq with McCain is a political impossibility, surely someone who is putting themselves forward as the next Commander-in-Chief can see the wisdom of getting an accurate picture of the facts on the ground as they exist now? After all, a lot has happened since early 2006 and unless Obama wants his position to be dismissed by the voters as the naive empty rhetoric it truly is, he should at least do like Eisenhower did and go to
C’mon Barry, what are you afraid of?
– John (Average Gay Joe)
RELATED UPDATE FROM GAYPATRIOT:
As Arte Johnson would say….. “Verrrrry interesting.”Â (h/t - Instapundit)
Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) is seen in a video that has surfaced on the Web saying that Democrats â€œsort of stretched the factsâ€ in the 2006 elections about their ability to end the Iraq war.
In a video posted to YouTube on Thursday, Kanjorski reflects on the Democrats’ approach to the war in 2006 and said they pushed the rhetoric â€œas far as we can to the end of the fleet â€” didn’t say it, but we implied it â€” that if we won the congressional elections, we could stop the war.”
“Now, anybody who’s a good student of government would know it wasn’t true,” he said. â€œBut you know, the temptation to want to win back the Congress â€” we sort of stretched the facts.â€
The video was dated Aug. 28, 2007, by the person who posted it. The remarks are not placed in a larger context.
Republicans reacted Friday by calling for Kanjorski to apologize.
“For Paul Kanjorski to admit that Democrats campaigned in ’06 on a fraudulent agenda to end the war not only exposes his own calculated efforts to fool the voters of his district, but it also raises the question of whether this was a coordinated effort by the Democratic Party as a whole,” said a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, Ken Spain.
â€œPaul Kanjorski should be ashamed of himself for using our troops in harm’s way as political pawns for his own partisan agenda.â€
Now come on, really.Â Â Is anyone REALLY surprised that the Democrats would use the lives of our soldiers as a bargaining chip with the American public in order to gain political power?Â Some would call that orchestrated effort…. well, treason.
As Amy & Seth would say….. REALLY, Congressman Kanjorski, REALLY?Â (I’m full of NBC allusions today…..)
I can’t believe that the President of the USAÂ delivered aÂ prayer (!!)Â to the American people during this worldwide conflict and it was broadcast nationwide! Â And how come itÂ hasn’t received the attention and scorn from the US Mainstream Media and Liberals across the board??Â
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest — until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.
Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.
Can you believe that this President is so under the influence of the Religious Right that he would dare utter these words and that they would be broadcast to the whole nation!Â I mean, yeah, the country was attacked and now involved in a global fight against a radical fascism.Â But how dare the President evoke “saving our religion” and whose job is it of ours to relieve suffering in other nations under a dictator’s rule?
But not a peep from the media when the President made this address!!!Â How could they miss it???
This is simply a short American history lesson today for you liberal Bush-haters out there.
I wonder if a President Obama would dare use these words in a speech?Â Or if he would even launch a counterattack at all?