Posts Tagged ‘war on terror’

1.  Am I the only one who looks at President Obama’s nuclear nirvana-seeking and sees a guy who, somewhere in his past, got an A+ on a term paper arguing that a nuclear-free world is achievable, and has believed ever since that he’s the guy to do it?

2.  If I had a hypothesis-proving time machine and took Pelosi, Reid, et. al. two years into the future to show them that by cutting taxes 5% for the upper 15% of wage-earners, they could achieve nearly-full employment by the time the 2012 elections roll around, would they still refuse to do it on principle?

3.  If Israel started denouncing the United States and threatening Iran’s security, would it get more support from this Administration?

4.  Were we to apply the same rules of nomenclature currently being considered for the War on Terror to our past conflicts, would we have been forced to refer to our Cold War adversaries as “ideologically-committed Eurasians,” or our German enemies as “highly-organized expansionists?”

and for a funny 5th…   Is this how Hillary deals with what must be her (and her party’s?) daily recognition that the wrong candidate beat John McCain?  Gotta say, I can’t begrudge her it.


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If any of the Obama Administration’s stated reasons for closing Gitmo has emerged as its favorite, it has to be that Guantanamo is a recruiting tool for al Qaeda.  This rationalization is particularly useful for the Democrats, because it simultaneously hints at the underlying cause celebre behind closing Guantanamo – that we do unspeakably evil things to those poor people at that bad place – while appearing to be a plus in the Overseas Contingency Operation against Man-Caused Disaster.

Which is the more powerful recruiting tool - this?

But remember that not long ago, this same Administration was moments away from creating a whole new set of al Qaeda “recruiting tools.”  Back in April/May 2009, the Justice Department was ready to forego an appeal of a court order to release dozens of photos of enemy combatants, which presumably depicted them after undergoing harsh interrogation or torture.  Those photos, whose release would have been unlawful under the Geneva Conventions preventing public depictions of prisoners of war, would have invariably reignited similar passions as were unleashed throughout the Middle East and Central Asia in the weeks and months after the Abu Ghraib revelations.  One might recall that things got worse, not better, in Iraq at that point.

Or this?

But here we had the Attorney General recommending that it not appeal to the Supreme Court a judgment by the Second Circuit that would have required the Department of Defense to release these photos.  Even if it would have eventually lost, the government would have delayed disclosure for at least another year.  And it was no slam dunk that it would have lost — the Court has been much more deferential (although not deferential enough) to the executive branch in its prosecution of the war than have the lower courts, particularly the forums chosen by the ACLU for its activist lawsuits.

Only after the intelligence agencies, the military, the public, and ultimately key members of Congress expressed their outrage at such a decision did the Obama Administration first delay, then indefinitely postpone release of the photos.  The matter was ultimately resolved when Congress allowed the Secretary of Defense to order the photos sealed, which he did.  That order was upheld by the Supreme Court.

So, the same Justice Department that is insisting on closure of Guantanamo to avoid inciting terrorist violence was ready to release photos that would surely have incited violence, and would have absent a public uprising against it.  The only common element here?  The ACLU and its liberal allies wanted both to happen, and for reasons utterly unrelated to the violence that may have resulted: they hate George Bush, and they are driven to remind us all of the evil that embraced our land during the dark days of his reign.  Irrational?  Yes.  Explanatory?  Without question.

True, Obama himself signed the law allowing the photos to be protected – in a rather rare reversal of policy.  But Holder and his ilk at DOJ remained unabashedly opposed to the move.  They have zero credibility when they attack Guantanamo as a “recruiting tool.”

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Imagine this scenario.

You’re a Blue Dog Democrat from a Midwestern district who got elected in 2006.  You ran on a moderately anti-Iraq War platform, but you kept your national security credentials by saying we needed to do more in Afghanistan.  You won in 2008 by a healthy 8-point margin, but you had a weak opponent, and McCain won your district, 52-48%.

You were among those who initially expressed skepticism about Obamacare, which took some heat off the town hall meetings, but they were still filled with hundreds of grumpy constituents who beat you up with Pelosi and the President.  You’ve already got a strong opponent for 2010, and he’s used your votes for the stimulus bill and cap-and-trade (the latter which you really regret) to raise $250,000 in two quarters of fundraising.  You know you’ll vote against the House health care bill, but you don’t know what you’ll do on the compromise bill that will almost certainly emerge from the Senate.

One fine day, you get a call from the President himself.  After some pleasantries, he gets down to business.  The President asks for your support for his health care plan.  You respond that you just don’t know if you can support a public option, and you know you can’t support a bill with public funding for abortion.  The President says, “Forget the abortion stuff.  That comes out.  But I need the public option.  And I’m willing to stay in Afghanistan for your vote.”  You say, “Excuse me, Mr. President?”

The President explains: “That’s right, Congressman.  I have reviewed General McChrystal’s report, and I simply can’t abide the thought of conducting counterinsurgency operations with double the troops in Afghanistan for the rest of my presidency.  I see no way out of this without thousands more lives lost, and the government there is always going to be fragile.”

“I want to reduce our troop levels to a residual force that will be focused on protecting Kabul and providing remote support for attacks against terrorist targets in the border region.  But I know you and many of your colleagues feel differently.  And I am willing to compromise in a way that gets us enough votes to pass health care reform for all Americans while maintaining our force in Afghanistan.”

“I’ll accept McChrystal’s request and send 100,000 more troops to Afghanistan, but I can’t get the funds through the House without getting a public option on health care reform.  I’ll even phase in the health care plan over five years, so if it doesn’t work, we can fix it.  I’ve made the deal – I’ve got enough Afghanistan votes in the Progressive Caucus, and you and I know the Republicans will get us the rest of the way.  I just need you and a few more Blue Dogs to go along with the public option.”

“So,” says the President of the United States, “can I count on your vote?”

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