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Sen. Klobuchar’s op-ed in the St. Cloud Times would be easier to take seriously if she wasn’t MIA on other issues surrounding the military.

With grateful hearts, Minnesotans this month gathered on Veterans Day to honor the brave Americans who have served in uniform to protect our freedom. This day should be about more than just saluting our veterans. It also serves as an opportunity to renew our commitment to serve those who have served us.

After all, that is our responsibility, to do right by those who have stood tall on the front lines so that we can live free. This is especially true for soldiers returning from battle permanently injured and suffering life-altering disabilities.

It’s a bit hollow sounding, not because wounded vets don’t deserve the medical treatment, but because Sen. Klobuchar didn’t speak out when the military started sending out pink slips to officers still fighting in Afghanistan:

In a stunning display of callousness, the Defense Department has announced that thousands of soldiers, many serving as commanding officers in Afghanistan, will be notified in the coming weeks that their service to the country is no longer needed. Last week, more than 1,100 Army captains, the men and women who know best how to fight this enemy because they have experienced multiple deployments, were told they’ll be retired from the Army.

The overall news is not unexpected. The Army has ended its major operations in Iraq and is winding down in Afghanistan. Budget cuts are projected to shrink the Army from its current 520,000 troops to 440,000, the smallest size since before World War II. What is astonishing is that the Defense Department thought it would be appropriate to notify deployed soldiers, men and women risking their lives daily in combat zones, that they’ll be laid off after their current deployment.

Why was St. Amy of Hennepin County silent about this? Shouldn’t the Obama administration treat the men and women still risking their lives on the battlefield deserve better treatment than this?

As one Army wife posted on MilitaryFamily.org, “On some level I knew the drawdowns were inevitable, but I guess I never expected to be simultaneously worried about a deployment to Afghanistan and a pink slip because my husband’s service is no longer needed.”

The thing is that these troops are needed more than ever:

The nation should worry about the increased national-security risk of separating such a large pool of combat-experienced leaders. The separated soldiers are those who carry the deepest knowledge base of counterinsurgency operations. A senior Defense Department official warned: “If the force is smaller, there’s less margin for error. Let’s face it — things are pretty uncertain out there.”

Then again, that’s never worried Sen. Klobuchar. Since her first campaign in 2006, Sen. Klobuchar consistently talked about “ending the war responsibly.” Winning wasn’t important to her.

That’s why her op-ed rings hollow. This isn’t just about health care for wounded vets. It’s about giving them the resources they need to accomplish their mission. That mission is to defeat and destroy the terrorists before they attack again.

Catherine Herridge’s reporting in this video is the smoking gun that the Left’s apologists say doesn’t exist:

Here’s part of Herridge’s article:

Several Al Qaeda members emerged as “leaders of the pack” in last year’s Benghazi attack, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Fox News following release of a bipartisan report blowing apart claims the assault was the work of local extremists with no formal terrorist connections.

The former Guantanamo detainee Sufian bin Qumu, first identified by Fox’s Bret Baier as a suspect 16 months ago, at the very least helped lay the groundwork for the operation.

“Certainly Qumu was involved in planning in this…he is a member of a group that is affiliated with Al Qaeda so in my mind that makes him Al Qaeda,” said Chambliss, R-Ga.

According to the timeline that’s been put together from the House Armed Services Committee testimony, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama knew that Benghazi was a terrorist attack within fifteen minutes of the start of the attack. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report said that there were direct ties to a former Gitmo detainee who was part of al-Qa’ida’s network. That’s proof that President Obama and Hillary Clinton lied about the origin of the attack. We know this because Hillary accused an obscure filmmaker of triggering the terrorist attack in Benghazi.

This information from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report doesn’t help the administration either:

It concludes that the Benghazi attackers came from two official Al Qaeda affiliates, bin Qumu’s Ansar al-Sharia, and a fourth group, the Jamal network, whose leader is connected to the Al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan.

“Individuals affiliated with terrorist groups including AQIM, Ansar al-Sharia, AQAP and the Mohammad Jamal Network participated in the September 11, 2012 attacks,” the report said.

That doesn’t leave the administration any wiggle room on whether this was a professionally coordinated terrorist attack. This information mocks the State Department’s spin that “core al-Qa’ida” wasn’t involved in planning the Benghazi assassination of Ambassador Christopher Stevens. People in New York, at the Pentagon and across the country don’t care whether “core al-Qa’ida” planned Stevens’ assassination. They’re just worried that Detroit is bankrupt and al-Qa’ida is alive and well in north Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and southwest Asia.

People are worried that the terrorists are gaining more sanctuaries where they can plan and train for their next major terrorist attack. People don’t care whether the State Department’s narrative is spin. They care about whether their families are safe. Based on what we’ve seen happening during this administration’s time in office, people have a right to be worried that another terrorist attack is right around the corner.

The Obama/Hillary/Panetta national security team has been close to worthless. They killed bin Laden, the leader of a psychotic movement. Then they let that movement grow and flourish. Al-Qa’ida in Iraq had been demolished. Their training bases in Afghanistan had been demolished. Then President Obama and Secretary Clinton abandoned Iraq to appease their nutjob anti-war supporters. Now al-Qa’ida is alive and well in north Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and southwest Asia.

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Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison haven’t been accused recently of being national security hawks. After reading this statement, I’m pretty certain they’ll never be considered serious about national security:

Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced the “Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act,” which would create a high level Special Envoy to Iran. The act pushes diplomacy as a vital route to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and directs the President to appoint a Special Envoy to pursue direct, sustained, bilateral and multilateral negotiations with the Government of Iran in order to prevent war, and support human rights.

“The darkening clouds surrounding Iran’s nuclear program are troubling. We must use all diplomatic tools available, including engaging in direct bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. To do that, we must lift the ‘no contact policy and begin negotiations,” Congresswoman Lee said.

The bill calls for eliminating the State Department’s ‘no contact’ policy that prevents State Department officers and employees from making any direct contact with Iranian counterparts. The bill outlines measures to pursue opportunities to build mutual trust and to foster sustained negotiations in good faith with Iran.

Original cosponsors include Representatives Earl Blumenauer, John Conyers, John Dingell, Keith Ellison, Rush Holt, Hank Johnson, James McGovern, Jim Moran, Betty McCollum, and Bobby Rush.

That’s quite a list of doves. Barbara Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against going to war with Afghanistan after 9/11. (It takes divine intervention to get to the left of Dennis Kucinich on national security.)

Hank Johnson is famous for saying that he thought Guam would capsize if troops then stationed in Iraq were redeployed to Guam:

Rather than focus on the goofy people that signed onto this legislation as co-sponsors, though, it’s important to notice that the policy that’s being espoused sends a terrible signal of weakness to the terrorists. What’s more is this policy is most likely to embolden terrorists. If the terrorists think that they can threaten the West, why wouldn’t they think that they can get away with much more than threats?

Follow this link for more on this topic.

The first thing that’s obvious from this video is that Rick Nolan is still living in the 1970s and 1980s:

For instance, this statement leaps off the page:

NOLAN: We need to revise our trade policy. Fifty thousand manufacturers in this country have moved out of this country in recent years and along with that, millions of jobs. And it’s because of unfair competition. An American manufacturer has to adhere to good health and safety standards for its workers, good environmental standards to protect the air and the water, not to mention Social Security and Medicare and workers comp and unemployment. And it was never fair to those manufacturers to say ‘Now we want you to compete with the rest of the world where, in many cases, they don’t do any of that. It’s unfair competition.

It’s insulting to manufacturers to say that they can’t compete with the rest of the world if other countries don’t implement the same regulations and programs as the U.S. has. That’s provably false.

American manufacturers outcompeted the rest of the world with those programs in place. The dirty little secret is that there’s fewer manufacturing jobs in the United State but that there’s more manufacturing, thanks to greater automation. If anything, that’s proof that manufacturers have outcompeted the world because they’re great innovators.

Here’s another mindless Nolan rant:
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AARON BROWN: How would you reconcile the debt and the deficit to secure the solvency of the nation over the long haul?
NOLAN: There’s a number of things that need to be done. One is put an end to the wars of choice. They’ve cost several trillion dollars over the past decade. They’re going to cost us trillions more dollars going forward. That’s trillions of dollars that can be used to balance the budget and to reinvest in America.

There isn’t a thoughtful person who thinks Rick Nolan is serious about deficits and debt. That’s a serious question in search of a serious candidate.

First, “wars of choice” haven’t cost the U.S. “several trillion dollars over the past decade.” Democrats considered Iraq the war of choice. That was shut down before Christmas, 2011. Afghanistan, Democrats told us, was the location for the real war on terror. Two days ago, Lara Logan, the pre-eminent war correspondent in the business, delivered some sobering news about the war against the jihadists:

Eleven years later, “they” still hate us, now more than ever, Logan told the crowd. The Taliban and al-Qaida have not been vanquished, she added. They’re coming back.

“I chose this subject because, one, I can’t stand, that there is a major lie being propagated…” Logan declared in her native South African accent.

The lie is that America’s military might has tamed the Taliban.

“There is this narrative coming out of Washington for the last two years,” Logan said. It is driven in part by “Taliban apologists,” who claim “they are just the poor moderate, gentler, kinder Taliban,” she added sarcastically. “It’s such nonsense!”

Nolan’s war of choice is fiction. President Obama is essentially declaring the war in Afghanistan won. Lara Logan has reported from the front lines. She’s seen what the Taliban have done. This fight isn’t over. It’s true that President Obama is calling a ceasefire in Afghanistan but the Taliban hasn’t agreed to the ceasefire.

The reality is that Rick Nolan is still the same pacifist, ‘give peace a chance’ hippie wannabe he’s always been. The only thing that’s changed is that he’s wearing better suits and his hair is grayer these days.

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President Obama’s speech at West Point tonight was a different speech than any I’ve ever seen him give before. It seemed disjointed and unorganized. Several things he said stood out for me tonight, starting with this comment:

Under the banner of this domestic unity and international legitimacy, and only after the Taliban refused to turn over Osama bin Laden, we sent our troops into Afghanistan. Within a matter of months, al Qaeda was scattered and many of its operatives were killed. The Taliban was driven from power and pushed back on its heels. A place that had known decades of fear now had reason to hope. At a conference convened by the U.N., a provisional government was established under President Hamid Karzai. And an International Security Assistance Force was established to help bring a lasting peace to a war-torn country.

Think about this sentence:

Within a matter of months, al Qaeda was scattered and many of its operatives were killed.

Think about that statement against this backdrop: It took President Obama more time to decide on a strategy for fighting the war than it took to scatter al-Qa’ida and kill many of its top operatives. That isn’t leadership. That’s moisten-a-finger procrastination. One post I read earlier tonight reminded President Obama that he was “president of the United States, not the president of a university.” That sums things up perfectly.

Here’s another odd paragraph:

Today, after extraordinary costs, we are bringing the Iraq war to a responsible end. We will remove our combat brigades from Iraq by the end of next summer, and all of our troops by the end of 2011. That we are doing so is a testament to the character of the men and women in uniform. (Applause.) Thanks to their courage, grit and perseverance, we have given Iraqis a chance to shape their future, and we are successfully leaving Iraq to its people.

Thanks to President Bush’s steadfast desire to win that war and thanks to the military for killing the insurgents, the terrorists and the Iranians, Iraq now has a future to shape via its parliament. Had then-Sen. Obama cast the deciding vote, Iraq would’ve been left to the tender mercies of the Iranians in southern Iraq and AQI in northern Iraq.

The point I’m making is that that isn’t a reminder I would’ve used in a speech meant to rally troop morale in Afghanistan and it isn’t the type of reminder that Afghanistan needed of President Obama’s fickleness towards war.

Here’s another odd section of the speech:

This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al Qaeda. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak. This is no idle danger; no hypothetical threat. In the last few months alone, we have apprehended extremists within our borders who were sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit new acts of terror. And this danger will only grow if the region slides backwards, and al Qaeda can operate with impunity. We must keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and to do that, we must increase the stability and capacity of our partners in the region.

No sooner had he said that then he said this:

We will meet these objectives in three ways. First, we will pursue a military strategy that will break the Taliban’s momentum and increase Afghanistan’s capacity over the next 18 months.

If a place is “the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al Qaeda”, why is President Obama talking about exiting 18 after we’ve started? This doesn’t instill confidence in the troops that he’s serious about fighting this war to the finish.

No Obama speech is complete without the appearance of the strawman argument. Here’s tonight’s appearance:

First, there are those who suggest that Afghanistan is another Vietnam. They argue that it cannot be stabilized, and we’re better off cutting our losses and rapidly withdrawing. I believe this argument depends on a false reading of history. Unlike Vietnam, we are joined by a broad coalition of 43 nations that recognizes the legitimacy of our action. Unlike Vietnam, we are not facing a broad-based popular insurgency. And most importantly, unlike Vietnam, the American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan, and remain a target for those same extremists who are plotting along its border. To abandon this area now, and to rely only on efforts against al Qaeda from a distance, would significantly hamper our ability to keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and create an unacceptable risk of additional attacks on our homeland and our allies.

Second, there are those who acknowledge that we can’t leave Afghanistan in its current state, but suggest that we go forward with the troops that we already have. But this would simply maintain a status quo in which we muddle through, and permit a slow deterioration of conditions there. It would ultimately prove more costly and prolong our stay in Afghanistan, because we would never be able to generate the conditions needed to train Afghan security forces and give them the space to take over.

Finally, there are those who oppose identifying a time frame for our transition to Afghan responsibility. Indeed, some call for a more dramatic and open-ended escalation of our war effort, one that would commit us to a nation-building project of up to a decade. I reject this course because it sets goals that are beyond what can be achieved at a reasonable cost, and what we need to achieve to secure our interests. Furthermore, the absence of a time frame for transition would deny us any sense of urgency in working with the Afghan government. It must be clear that Afghans will have to take responsibility for their security, and that America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan.

The group referenced in the first paragraph are clearly the people of the anti-war Left. Like Michael Moore, they’re opposed to war even when winning’s imperative to preventing future terrorist attacks. It isn’t a totally accurate dpeiction of the Anti-War Left but it’ll work for President Obama’a purposes.

The group referenced in the third paragraph is obviously the ‘in-it-to-win-it’ part of the GOP. Again, the depiction isn’t accurate but it’s how President Obama chooses to characterize what used to be called the Victory Caucus position. The Victory Caucus contingent isn’t for open-ended war. They’re just for not publicly announcing timeframes so the enemy doesn’t know how long they’ll have to hold out until we leave.

Timetables are liberalspeak for cutting and running.

Finally, I’m having difficulty identifying the group highlighted in the second paragraph. I haven’t heard anyone who’s advocated the status quo. I’ve heard the anti-war Left argue agaisnt adding troops. I’ve heard conservative hawks who’ve advocated giving Gen. McChrystal the troops he’s asked for so he could bring the troops home in victory. I havne’t heard people argue that the status quo is acceptable.

The rest of the speech had a meandering, messageless tone to it. He talked about confronting terrorists in Somalia and Yemen but didn’t talk about contfronting them militarily. Then he talked about diplomacy something before talking about the economy before finishing with this bizarre ending:

America, we are passing through a time of great trial. And the message that we send in the midst of these storms must be clear: that our cause is just, our resolve unwavering. We will go forward with the confidence that right makes might, and with the commitment to forge an America that is safer, a world that is more secure, and a future that represents not the deepest of fears but the highest of hopes.

How can he say these things after going on a worldwide apology tour? It’s just truly bizarre, which is fitting for this speech.

Finally, I never got the sense that President Obama’s heart was in this speech. For the most part, he read the lines just fine. The speech was a little too all-over-the-map but it wasn’t the problem. At the end of the day, he didn’t make the case with any fire in his belly. He certainly didn’t instill in the troops a steadfast commitment to the mission they’ll soon be waging.

Most importantly, he didn’t tell the Afghan government or our allies that he wouldn’t run at the first hint of trouble. Frankly, if I had to grade the content and delivery of the speech, I’d give the content a C- and the delivery a D.

We expect better from our commander-in-chief.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

I’m not shocked to find out that John Murtha doesn’t think military victory is achievable in Afghanistan. He’s been a defeatist since the 1980s.

Democratic Rep. John Murtha, just back from a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan, said

Monday that he never got a clear definition of what constitutes an “achievable victory” for the United States and fears that American commanders are assuming more time for the war effort than voters at home will allow.

“I am still very nervous about this whole thing,” Murtha told POLITICO. “If you had 10 years, it might work; if you had five, you could make a difference. But you don’t have that long.”

A top Democrat on military matters, the Pennsylvania lawmaker captures the skepticism facing the White House as President Barack Obama prepares to commit up to 35,000 more troops to the war effort. Obama has chosen a military forum, West Point, for his nationally televised speech Tuesday night, but Congress is the real test and a better reflection of the unease among everyday Americans.

john Murtha has been declaring defeat for a long time. He declared defeat in Somalia while our troops were still fighting there. After the Clinton administration pulled out on Murtha’s advice, Osama bin Laden told an ABC correspondent that America was a paper tiger.

Rep. Murtha told the Bush administration that Iraq was fighting a civil war and that a military victory was impossible. Fortunately for Iraq, the Bush administration ignored Murtha’s advice. Instead of following Murtha’s defeatist advice, President Bush doubled down with the surge and won a decisive victory. They defeated the insurgents and the Iranians while giving Iraqis the gift of liberty.

On another note, it’s insulting to hear David Rogers say that “everyday Americans” are uneasy with winning a war. By nature, we LOVE winning wars. It’s true that a small portion of Democratic pacifists are apprehensive but they don’t even make up a majority of their party, much less a majority of Americans.

Rep. Murtha, it’s time you retired. It’s time you quit waving the white flag of defeat. They say that there’s no such thing as an ex-Marine. You’re proof that there is. You’re a national disgrace because you stand in opposition to the U.S. military’s winning wars.

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Finally, President Obama is waging war. Unfortunately, President Obama has decided to wage war against David Petraeus and Stanley McChristal. Here’s their attack on Gen. McChrystal:

An adviser to the administration said: “People aren’t sure whether McChrystal is being naïve or an upstart. To my mind he doesn’t seem ready for this Washington hard-ball and is just speaking his mind too plainly.”

Gen. McChrystal replied forcefully:

In London, Gen McChrystal, who heads the 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan as well as the 100,000 Nato forces, flatly rejected proposals to switch to a strategy more reliant on drone missile strikes and special forces operations against al-Qaeda.

He told the Institute of International and Strategic Studies that the formula, which is favoured by Vice-President Joe Biden, would lead to “Chaos-istan”. When asked whether he would support it, he said: “The short answer is: No.” He went on to say: “Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome. This effort will not remain winnable indefinitely, and nor will public support.”

If I’m forced to choose between trusting Gen. Vice-President Joe Biden or Gen. McChrystal on national security matters, I’ll choose Gen. McChrystal. It’s important that we remind ourselves that Vice President Biden was the idiot who thought we had the authority to split Iraq into 3 separate countries. He pitched the Biden Option while Sen. McCain pitched the Surge. Obviously, the Surge worked, thanks to Gen. Petraeus’s brilliant plan and Gen. Odierno’s decisionmaking.

Fast-forward to today. Here’s how the Obama administration is treating Gen. Petraeus:

Gen. David H. Petraeus, the face of the Iraq troop surge and a favorite of former President George W. Bush, spoke up or was called upon by President Obama “several times” during the big Afghanistan strategy session in the Situation Room last week, one participant says, and will be back for two more meetings this week.

But the general’s closest associates say that underneath the surface of good relations, the celebrity commander faces a new reality in Mr. Obama’s White House: He is still at the table, but in a very different seat.

No longer does the man who oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have one of the biggest voices at National Security Council meetings, as he did when Mr. Bush gave him 20 minutes during hourlong weekly sessions to present his views in live video feeds from Baghdad. No longer is the general, with the Capitol Hill contacts and web of e-mail relationships throughout Washington’s journalism establishment, testifying in media explosions before Congress, as he did in September 2007, when he gave 34 interviews in three days.

Based on these reports, I’m left wondering whether the Obama administration wants to lose the war in Afghanistan. Obviously, they’ll never admit it but their actions aren’t giving people confidence that they’re interested in winning. Their actions don’t even say that it’s a priority.

I’ve said before that the Obama administration’s foreign policy reminded me of the Carter administration’s foreign policy. I’m revising that to say that the Obama administration’s foreign policy doesn’t even meet the lowly standard established by the Carter administration.

The Obama administration has shown a hostility towards the military experts. What’s worse is that they’ve done these things to appease their anti-war left fringe. Their actions say that they’d rather lose a war than ruffle their political allies’ feathers.

That’s a disgusting set of priorities.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

When I read this Politico article, the first thing I thought was that I wish her husband had said this during his debate. Here’s what I’m referring to:

“The day that Sen. Obama cast a vote to not to fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body let me tell you,” Cindy McCain said in introducing the GOP ticket. “I would suggest Sen. Obama change shoes with me for just one day. I suggest he take a day and go watch our men and women deploying.”

John McCain would’ve been justified in saying this. Though FactCheck.org says that this is misleading, which is itself misleading. Here’s the time that Sen. Obama voted against funding the troops:

U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 110th Congress – 1st Session

as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate

Vote Summary

Question: On the Motion (Motion to Concur in House Amdt. to Senate Amdt to H.R.2206 )
Vote Number: 181 Vote Date: May 24, 2007, 08:26 PM
Required For Majority: 1/2 Vote Result: Motion Agreed to
Measure Number: H.R. 2206 (U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 )
Measure Title: Making emergency supplemental appropriations and additional supplemental appropriations for agricultural and other emergency assistance for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007, and for other purposes.
Vote Counts:
YEAs 80
NAYs 14
Not Voting 6
NAYs —14
Boxer (D-CA), Burr (R-NC), Clinton (D-NY), Coburn (R-OK), Dodd (D-CT), Enzi (R-WY), Feingold (D-WI), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerry (D-MA), Leahy (D-VT), Obama (D-IL), Sanders (I-VT), Whitehouse (D-RI), Wyden (D-OR)

This U.S. News & World Report article puts that vote in perfect historical context:

Led by Rep. John P. Murtha and “supported by several well-funded anti-war groups, the coalition’s goal is to limit or sharply reduce the number of US troops available for the Iraq conflict, rather than to openly cut off funding for the war itself.” The legislative strategy “will be supplemented by a multimillion-dollar TV ad campaign designed to pressure vulnerable GOP incumbents into breaking with…Bush.” The one unknown factor on the planners’ mind as they get ready to implement their strategy: “Why many Democrats have remained timid in challenging Bush, even as public support for the president and his Iraq policies have plunged.” Perhaps, as the AP reports, “many rank-and-file” Democrats, “particularly moderate newcomers who rode to Congress on a wave of public discontent about Iraq, are wary of casting any vote that could be construed as ending funding for the mission.”

This article was written for the Feb. 14, 2007 online edition of U.S. News & World Report. Ninety-nine days later, Barack Obama voted to not fund the troops. Not surprisingly, Hillary voted against it, too. This came at a time when the anti-war fringe organizations were exerting alot of pressure on Democratic politicians to end the war.

As extensive as the pressure was on run of the mill Democratic politicians, it was 100 times more intense on presidential candidates. Sen. Obama felt that pressure. He knew that he didn’t stand a chance of getting the nomination against Hillary if he played the same triangulation game that Hillary played.

Put in this context, it’s difficult for me to agree with FactCheck’s rating Sen. McCain’s statement as misleading. It’s certainly factual that Sen. Obama voted against funding “just once.” It isn’t a stretch to think that Sen. Obama didn’t cast that vote because it was great policy. It isn’t a stretch to think that Sen. Obama cast that vote because it was imperative if he wanted to take a serious run at the Democrats’ presidential nomination.

Democratic politicians can’t argue that voting for John Murtha’s slow bleed bill was anything but a vote for American defeat in Iraq. Let’s remember that winning wasn’t Rep. Murtha’s priority. Rep. Murtha’s highest priority was for Democrats to stay on the right side of the anti-war wing of their party.

One last thing must be pointed out, too. Joe Biden said during the vice presidential debate that the vote that John McCain took was essentially the same as the vote Barack Obama took. That’s pure nonsense. John McCain voted for the only plan that could’ve stabilized Iraq. Sen. Obama voted for a bill that would’ve guaranteed instability in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

That isn’t taking the same vote. Sen. McCain’s vote was the total opposite of Sen. Obama’s vote.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Tom Bevan has a great post over on the Time-RCP blog about the misguided attacks against Sarah Palin. He prominently cites Juan Cole’s delirious article. Here’s the title and subtitle of Cole’s article:

What’s the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick
A theocrat is a theocrat, whether Muslim or Christian.

Here’s the central thesis of Cole’s article:

But the values of his handpicked running mate, Sarah Palin, more resemble those of Muslim fundamentalists than they do those of the Founding Fathers. On censorship, the teaching of creationism in schools, reproductive rights, attributing government policy to God’s will and climate change, Palin agrees with Hamas and Saudi Arabia rather than supporting tolerance and democratic precepts.

This is just another bit of proof that Democrats are unhinged. Unlike 2006, though, their unhingedness will get highlighted to the fullest extent possible.

It’s wrong to think, though, that the Democrats’ foolishness is only directed at the GOP presidential ticket. That’s only their latest round of foolishness. The Democratic majorities in Congress have been botching things since they retook the majorities in the House and Senate. Speaker Pelosi’s gavelling shut the House without letting a vote on a real drilling package went over like a lead balloon.

My point is this: While it’s true that ‘journalists’ like Juan Cole have hastened and deepened the Democrats’ slide, voters haven’t been inspired to have confidence in the Democrats’ leadership. Quite the contrary. They’ve registered their disgust with job approval ratings that rival Vladimir Putin’s popularity with Georgians.

The cancer that the Democratic Party must eliminate is the Nutroots/anti-war crowd. They’re badly out of touch with America. To be sure, there are people who oppose this war. They’re the shrill minority. They aren’t close to being the majority. In 2006, people voted Democrat because we weren’t winning in Iraq. It’s different in 2008 because people see that we’ve made great progress.

The other point that can’t be ignored is that the Huffington Post and Daily Kos have rallied the activists. They aren’t appealing to independents in an attempt to expand the party. Their scope is limited because of their dogmatism. When they ran Joe Lieberman out of their party, they ran lots of like-minded people out, too. They’re just one of the key targets of the McCain-Palin ticket this fall.

Lieberman Democrats and disenchanted suburban women who supported Hillary will remember that Gov. Palin praised Hillary and Geraldine Ferraro in her introduction speech. They’ll remember Joe Lieberman being given a prominent speaking role at the Republicans’ convention. Those voters will appreciate the fact that the GOP, while being a principled party, isn’t the dogmatic party.

Don’t think that won’t play well in Scranton, PA, Columbus, OH, Richmond, VA and the UP in Michigan.

That’s why the Democrats’ bus is in worse shape than it appears.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Claire ‘There’s Nothing Inconsistent’ McCaskill appeared on Meet the Press Sunday. In a short period of time, she tried telling Tom Brokaw that Barack Obama hasn’t changed his policy towards hightailing it out of Iraq. Here’s the video and decide for yourself:

Better yet, study this transcript featuring Claire McCaskill doing her best to spin her way out of a difficult situation:

MR. BROKAW: Senator McCaskill, your own candidate has had his own difficulties this past week in explaining his positions, sometimes in the same day. Let’s begin with a well-known, now, sound bite about what he would do in Iraq. He’s planning a trip there. This is what he had to say two weeks ago in Fargo, North Dakota, something that you supported in the same day in Kansas City. Here’s Senator Obama talking about his plans for Iraq.

(Videotape, July 3, 2008)

SEN. OBAMA: I’ve always said that I would listen to commanders on the ground. I’ve always said that the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability. That assessment has not changed, and when I go to Iraq and I have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I’m sure I’ll have more information and will continue to refine my policies.

(End videotape)

MR. BROKAW: And later that same day, as you know, Senator Obama called the press together again because he wanted to clarify, as he put it, his earlier remarks. Here’s what he had to say at that time.

(Videotape)

SEN. OBAMA: I intend to end this war my first day in office. I will bring the Joint Chiefs of Staff in and I will give them a new mission, and that is to end this war responsibly, deliberately, but decisively. And I have seen no information that contradicts the notion that we can bring our troops out safely at a pace of one to two brigades per month, and again, that pace translates into having our, our combat troops out in 16 months’ time.

(End videotape)

MR. BROKAW: That confused even some of his most ardent supporters. If he goes to Iraq, and commanders on the ground, to whom he says he will listen, say, “Look, we could use 20 months, or maybe even 24 months,” will he stick to his 16-month timetable in calling the Joint Chiefs in the day after he’s inaugurated?

SEN. CLAIRE McCASKILL (D-MO): Listen, there is nothing inconsistent about Barack Obama’s position on Iraq. From the very beginning of this campaign, he has said very clearly his mindset is we must get out as carefully and as quickly as possible. There is nothing that he has said that contradicts that. Part of getting out carefully and quickly is listening to commanders on the ground. No commander in chief would ever say, “I’m not going to listen to the guys on the ground.” And that’s all he said is he’s going to listen in terms of how we get out. But the mindsets are very different here. You have Barack Obama saying we simply cannot afford, either from a position of national security or our economy, to keep borrowing $10 billion dollars a month from China to be mired in this civil conflict in Iraq, whereas John McCain’s position, his mindset is very clear, “We’re going to stay, and we’re not going to change in terms of our position in Iraq.” So we have two different mindsets, and I think most Americans understand that.

Here’s where Brokaw nails Sen. McCaskill:

MR. BROKAW: But, let me be clear about this, he says he’ll listen to commanders on the ground. He’s going there. But before he goes there, he says, “The day after I’m inaugurated, I’ll have Joint Chiefs in the office with instructions to get them out in 16 months.”

SEN. McCASKILL: But…

MR. BROKAW: So the real question is why even go if you know that you want to do that in advance?

Game. Set. Match.

What’s just happened is that Tom Brokaw just exposed the fact that Sen. Obama’s trip is purely show, that it isn’t a fact-finding mission. Frankly, it’s about CYA, political cover. His mind’s made up. The generals are just photo op window dressing.

The question that keeps lingering for me is this: Does Sen. Obama have such a strident attitude about Iraq that his only interest in visiting is for the photo op, the CYA session?

Another lingering question is this: Why should the New Media let him go through with the show as though it was a legitimate trip? This isn’t a substantive visit.

One thing that’s undeniable now is that Sen. Obama isn’t about substance. Sen. Obama is the photo op guy, the unserious candidate.

Here’s a question I’d love to ask Sen. Obama:

If what’s happening in Iraq is irrelevant, how can you say that your policy is based on information, not ideology or on pandering to your anti-war activist base? Unserious candidates make decisions based almost entirely on the wishes of a power special interest group. Serious candidates set policy by listening to the experts.

Now we know which category Sen. Obama fits in.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative