can’t we all just get along?

Well..NO.

There are principles worth fighting for in all these debates.  There are battles worth taking on here with health care, the future direction of our military, and how to create a business-friendly climate for the creation of much-needed jobs — all these need to have solid policy prescriptions.  When we feel that our concerns are not being addressed by the President and Congress, it is our responsibility and our obligation as citizens to speak out and demand alternatives.  It’s not about demonizing anyone or name-calling.  It’s about stopping bad policy before it’s too late to change course.   There are those who would say that unity is the ultimate goal and bipartisanship is the ideal objective in our politics.  I believe that America is strong enough to handle differences in opinion, no matter how passionately felt on either side.   We don’t get a stronger America by embracing groupthink merely to get along with our liberal / conservative friends and colleagues.

Some issues cannot be open to compromise if we care about the future of this great country.  Health care is one of those issues.   Giving government more control over that part of the private sector,  whether it is through excessive regulation or partial nationalization,  is a horrible idea.  Our battle is not with our fellow Americans.  The battle, my friends, is with the entrenched Washington insiders playing games with the federal budget and trying to force policies on us that will continue to damage our economy.   If that makes me someone who is mean, evil, and (oh no!) not compassionate, then I wear the badge with honor and distinction, and ask my fellow conservative malcontents to do the same.

Disagree?  Feel free to comment.

georgia

Maybe I’m missing something here, but I don’t see the bellicose calls for World War III and / or the use of military force against Russia — that the left is claiming — from anyone who has the authority to execute such a plan.  The Bush administration isn’t offering the use of our military to do any fighting, and even if it were, does anyone expect that the Democratic Congress led by Pelosi and Reid would approve any sort of military action against Russia?  I doubt it.  This is a tough situation for the current administration, and Russia will continue to defy the international community whether they have to deal with a President Obama or a President McCain.

What can we do to punish Russia for their invasion of a sovereign country?  There’s always international sanctions, a strongly worded letter from the UN, and getting them kicked out of the G-8.  Something must be done to show Russia that there are consequences to their actions.   I wouldn’t presume to know what the best way to deal with this situation is, but I don’t think that President Bush intends to take military action against Russia.  I’m not sure there is a way to contain Russia by diplomatic means, but we don’t have any other options.  The challenge we have is how to be a strong ally of Georgia and other allied countries in that region without taking steps toward war with Russia.

Sending humanitarian aid to Georgia is a good idea and we should be supporting them in that way.  But there has to be more we can do to show support for countries like Georgia who have been good and loyal friends to the United States of America.  We will be more likely to get international support for fighting global terrorism and the threat of radical lslam if we show that we can be trusted to defend our allies when it is required of us to do so.  The trick is attempted containment of countries like Russia and Iran without the threat of military force.  History tells us that this is impossible, but if the UN imposed enforceable sanctions with some real bite to them, it might delay any future aggression by Russia for a few years.  That would be a good place to start, but I don’t expect the UN to do this, because accountability for rogue actors is beyond their limited authority and ability.

lefties love ahmadinejad

There is a stunning level of moral equivalence demonstrated by one sign seen at Columbia University yesterday: “Ahmadinejad is bad, but Bush is worse”. It is hard to explain how this makes any sense when we consider what we know about both men. Liberals still consider the 2000 election stolen. That’s the primary reason behind all the Dubya hate. They believe President Bush cheated to win, and they can’t accept any other explanation. It’s not just about the war in Iraq. They just find the war in Iraq to be a more popular excuse that the average person in this country might be able to accept.

President Bush, with a majority of Republican and Democrat support, ordered the invasion of Iraq. Is it this well-intentioned decision that qualifies our President as the moral equivalent of a man who believes in the full implementation of Sharia law, and someone who does not believe in extending the same rights he enjoyed here in this country to his own people? If we had any other president, and especially a Democrat, would we hear this kind of tripe from the left?

Speaking of Sharia law…

Here’s the kind of guy the left prefers to Bush. Ahmadinejad is someone who supports Hizballah terrorists, refuses to admit that he is aiding the terrorists and insurgents in Iraq (despite evidence of it), and someone who believes that not only is Israel not a state, but also that it should not exist at all. He opposes freedom of speech, assembly, and most of the rights Americans take for granted, and he actively prevents Iranians from speaking their mind and opposing their government. Try all those clever protests the lefties put on at Columbia in Iran, and see how well that works for ya. Liberals generally support gay marriage and tolerance of many alternative lifestyles. In Iran, Ahmadinejad claimed, “there are no homosexuals”. That’s probably because his government has them executed. Sharia law makes no allowances for alternative lifestyles. It also allows the oppression of women.

Women’s rights, despite what their President might tell you, are virtually non-existent in Iran. If you read Robert Spencer, or the Atlas Shrugs blog, or Little Green Footballs, you will find out the extremes to which women’s rights are surrendered under Islamic law. Things like acceptable wife-beating, polygamy, divorce laws which favor the men over the women, female circumcision, rape laws which don’t allow the women’s testimony to be admissible in court, instead requiring 4 male witnesses to the event to prove it occurred – all of this is part of the Islamic law supported by Ahmadinejad and his religious buddies the mullahs.

The Iranian President is ignoring the plank in his own country’s eye, which decrying the speck in America’s. He has no freedom of speech rights. That’s for American citizens. He also should have been restricted to the area surrounding the UN. His Secret Service protection should have been limited to that area. If you read or listen to his statements regarding Ground Zero, it’s clear that his motive was not to honor the victims of 9/11, but to honor the murderers who caused this attack. For that reason, we were right to keep him from Ground Zero. His propaganda tour should have ended at the UN, but Columbia University allowed him a forum to spread his anti-US message.

Columbia President Lee Bollinger would be given much more credit today for his harsh statements in his introduction of Ahmadinejad if he actually had taken a meaningful stand and not invited the guy in the first place.

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it’s not racial

That’s the best answer I can give to Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson who wants to make Barack Obama’s standings in the polls about his race. It’s not about that. He asks if “white America” is ready to elect an African-American as our President, and cites our previous history with segregation, slavery, and civil rights.  There’s no question that we have struggled as a nation with racism, and to some degree we still do. But the only ones who seem to be obsessed with Obama’s race are the media. They keep bringing it up as if we SHOULD care about it.

Most Americans will vote based on which candidate they feel is the most capable of leading this country.  Many of the South Carolina Democrats in the poll he mentions are probably supporting Hillary over Barack for this reason, not because of racism. It doesn’t look like a coincidence that Mr. Robinson mentions South Carolina as part of the “white America” that he claims could keep Obama from the nomination. Even though I don’t generally give any Democrats the benefit of the doubt, I think that Robinson is trying to make a connection that isn’t there.  There may be a few who will not vote for Hillary because she’s a woman, or Barack because he’s African-American.  That’s not representative of the whole state of South Carolina, nor is it representative of this country overall.  I resent the implication that the main reason Barack isn’t making up much ground on Hillary in the polls in South Carolina and elsewhere is because of his race.  There are other reasons for that, but nothing that makes for an exciting story on the frontpage of a website or newspaper.

Americans deserve more credit than they are being given here. We can judge for ourselves whether a candidate has the right combination of charisma, experience, and leadership to be our choice for President. We can judge for ourselves what kind of President that candidate would be, not based on race, gender or even religion – and we don’t need the media’s approval for our choice.  The candidates on both sides would be wise to keep that in mind.

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after iraq

As long as President Bush is still in the White House, it’s hard to imagine that the Democrats in Congress can get enough support from the Republicans on the other side to abandon the war in Iraq entirely or just to de-fund it.  There will be a few defectors. We have already seen them start to appear on the Republican side. But when it comes down to calling for withdrawal or defunding the war, that’s where their resolve disappears.  That won’t always be the case.  I don’t know how much longer the President has to keep the surge going, but the famously impatient media and some of their enablers in Congress will ensure that it is not as long as our military needs to succeed.

I don’t know what the answer is for Iraq, but if we are going to leave soon, then we need to have a honest discussion about what will happen after we leave. There will be serious consequences to leaving Iraq without stabilizing it, and we need to decide whether we could stand by and watch the chaos happen without doing anything about it.  If we can, then there is no reason to keep troops in Iraq. If we can’t, then it makes more sense to finish what we started in Iraq.

Those who advocate immediate withdrawal from Iraq do so because they think that’s what the American people want.  They look at the unpopularity of this war and the frustration with its progress.  Maybe they honestly believe that as Harry Reid once said, “the war is lost”.  Maybe they don’t believe Iraq could get any worse than it is now after we leave.  It could, and we should acknowledge that possibility and be willing to deal with the aftermath of our withdrawal if this is the direction for this war that we ultimately choose.

Robert Haddock from TCS Daily takes a look at our history of military intervention and comes up with a few sobering conclusions on the future of our foreign policy after Iraq. Well worth reading, even if you believe the surge needs more time to succeed.

july 4th random thoughts

There will always be skeptics of the American experiment. They reappear every July 4th to encourage us not to fly the flag or to embrace anything remotely patriotic, simply because America has a flawed history. It’s also a very popular view worldwide, that every world problem could be solved if it weren’t for those meddling Americans. Americans look at the state of affairs in Iraq, and wonder if we might just be better off as a nation if we just left the rest of the world to fend for itself, and left the terrorist punishment to Europe and the UN. It’s tempting to think that way, but we can’t give in to that impulse because there is still a terrorist threat to this country and we need to do all we can to prevent another attack.

These critics don’t seem to realize that being an American allows them to write pretty much anything they want to write, say just about anything they want to say, and do everything within the law to protest what they see as injustices. No one will come and throw them in jail or physically abuse them simply for having an unpopular opinion. That’s one of many things the United States offers to its citizens that can’t be found in too many Islamic-run nations. And yet the US is the one country getting the bulk of the criticism…

There’s something seriously wrong with that.

On a lighter note, there’s also something wrong with calling competitive eating a sport. The annual hot dog eating contest happened again this year, with plenty of overhyped rhetoric to go along with the gorge-fest. The most ridiculous statement came from NYC mayor and potential entrant into the presidential race Mike Bloomberg, who compared the Joey Chestnut – Kobyashi matchup to the one between Ali-Frazier. He is a silly man. Please run, Mayor Mike. Anyway, can we really call Chestnut’s win over Kobyashi an upset? Aren’t we taking this hot dog eating contest too seriously by providing commentary and play-by-play for it? It’s definitely entertaining….but come on…it’s just a bunch of people stuffing their faces with unhealthy food. We have seen this in real life too many times already at the family picnics. Should this really be on TV?
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just a sticker on that burning suv

At what point are we all going to admit that terrorism is a real problem? Terrorism did not stop after 9/11. There were attacks all over the world, including the 7/7 terror atttack in London. Some countries stayed strong, like the UK, and some caved in and made concessions to try to appease the bloodthirsty murderers killing innocents mostly in the name of Islam. But it’s not our friends, or family, or co-workers this time around. It’s only been someone else’s friends, family, co-workers, and fellow countrymen. It should still matter to us. What makes us so invincible? We are doing almost everything that is in our power to do to try to prevent another 9/11. (That is, everything except making a serious attempt to secure our borders – and we need to keep pressuring Congress and the White House to do what they have no desire to do.) Even with our aggressive attempts to stop a potential terrorist attack here in the United States, we have no guarantees that we won’t have another terrorist attack.

That’s why we should care what is happening in the UK — London with the foiled bomb plot, and the more recent events at Glasgow Airport when a Jeep Cherokee loaded with gas cylinders crashed into the main entrance at that airport and burst into flames. It’s a reminder to us to stay vigilant. It’s a reminder to us that there are people out there who are willing to sacrifice their own lives for revenge on the infidels (or for those 72 virgins). Either way, negotiation with someone who thinks like that isn’t possible. You would think that Islam would win more converts if those fringe elements in their religion would stop beheading people or blowing things up. But I guess that kind of religion just can’t be understood.

Islamic extremists must be stopped. Anyone who wants to trivialize what we are now seeing in the UK, simply because it might not have been a top-of-the-line car bomb, or because this could be something concocted by the Bush-Cheney-Blair conspiracy, is not someone we should want to lead this country for the next 4-8 years. No serious presidential candidate should have this view, and we should disqualify anyone who isn’t willing to do whatever is necessary to protect America from all her enemies, both foreign and domestic.

(This is not a rip on John Edwards for two reasons. First of all, his position on terrorism is much more nuanced than his memorable soundbite about terrorism being a bumper-sticker slogan. It’s still a wrong-headed approach, but I think to some limited degree he knows that terrorism is a threat to this country. Secondly, I don’t see him as as a viable threat to Hillary and Obama, so I’m only worried about what those two or our Republican nominee might do about this threat once elected.)

It’s all well and good to talk about how the government could fix Darfur, health care, education, and every domestic problem by throwing all of our tax money at those areas, but when events like these keep the terrorist threat on our minds, will those domestic issues still take priority over national security? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have solutions about health care and education. After all, the Democrats claim to want to fix those things EVERY SINGLE election cycle. But if we ignore the bigger problems right in front of our eyes, then someday we might have more to worry about than the price of our prescription drugs.

rethinking the stability strategy

Was John Edwards right about the war on terrorism being a bumper-sticker slogan? To the extent that this statement trivializes the threat we face from Islamic extremists, absolutely not. I wonder, however, if in the desire to achieve stability in the Middle East we have unwisely propped up dictators and terrorist sympathizers, to achieve the stability we want to have there without taking the risk of transformational change that the promotion of human rights and freedom would produce in a society. It is fair to ask if the United States government really believes the foreign policy philosophy introduced by Bush 43, or whether we are serious about supporting those in other countries who are struggling to make a break from oppressive government control of their lives.

I was reading a Washington Post story about the problems Musharraf is having in Pakistan right now, and one line just stuck out in the opening grafs: “To the Bush White House, the war on terrorism tops everything, including democracy.” Is President Bush resigned to the idea that stability is more important than democracy? Some of the moves he has made would appear to suggest this, such as supporting a dictator like Musharraf, and it’s understandable that at this point in his political life, he’s looking for a quick fix to Iraq and to the Middle East. The President knows what needs to happen (the promotion of free societies), but he doesn’t know how to accompany that with consistent policies in holding countries accountable for human rights violations in exchange for financial and political support from the United States.

We say all the right things about freedom and democracy, and wanting to encourage opposition to dictatorships and Islamic theocracies, but maybe we could be doing more policy-wise to support those who oppose these type of governments. I’m not talking about American-led regime change in Iran or North Korea. What I’m talking about is finding ways to bring some accountability to oppressive regimes by withholding foreign aid and making all support conditional on verifiable improvement in the lives of the people under those governments. The problem that the US has in doing this is the international community and (with only a few exceptions) their tendency toward appeasement, the quick fix, and their application of a few Band-Aids on this serious flesh wound.

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mostly dead

Thanks to the conservatives who cared enough to tell the Republican minority how they felt about this immigration bill (and thanks also to the non-clueless senator from SC), the Republicans summoned enough votes to kill this bill. This battle is over for now, but we have to keep our eyes open, because this won’t be the end of proposals like this. John McCain is lucky to have such a loyal friend in Lindsey Graham, but they are both going down with this ship. It’s difficult to be angry with someone who votes on principle, even if they have a position totally different than yours.  However, it is never smart to vote in opposition to a large majority of your constituents (as Graham did) and expect anything good to come of that.  Like I said before, Lindsey Graham is a reliable conservative vote on most of the issues that are important to South Carolinians. But the way he and some of his colleagues have handled criticism on this legislation is unacceptable, and we really need to think about whether he deserves our continued support.

The incredible arrogance of the President of the United States, Trent Lott, John McCain, and others supporting this comprehensive immigration bill is stunning. It shouldn’t be.  We shouldn’t need any more proof that the Republican leadership doesn’t care what we think most of the time, and it takes a massive effort on our part to get them to pay attention. In a way, this is a good thing, because we need to care more about where Congress is taking our country. 

This is not about wanting to deport 11,12 million illegals.  Everyone knows this is impossible. What we can do right now is enforce current laws and finish that border fence. If there is a proven continuing commitment to border enforcement, then maybe we can talk about guest worker programs — but there is no reason to believe that the federal government or Congress has any intention to secure our borders.

There is a huge disconnect between D.C. elitists and the conservative base in the Republican party, which was highlighted by this struggle over immigration. They have decided that they know what’s best for all of us, and if we don’t agree with them, we must be uninformed. If they keep up this arrogant attitude, they shouldn’t expect our money, our support, or our votes.  But they don’t need us, right?

 

questions and debate

we are still not having an honest debate about iraq. why is it that we cannot, even now, thoughtfully engage the arguments for and against bush’s troop surge without accusing one side or the other of trying to gain political advantage? being against the war is a popular position to take, so it is neither brave nor courageous to parrot the poll-driven opinion of others. democrats and those few republicans who have come out against this troop surge can both be accused of trying to gain political advantage by supporting their various non-binding resolutions, and there’s a strong case that could be made for that point of view. we need to get beyond these accusations and have the iraq debate based on a full understanding of the consequences of what we choose to do next in iraq.

democrats are trying their hardest to oppose the war in iraq without taking any steps to end our involvement there. they seem to believe that this is what the american people voted for.  the democrats are misinterpreting the message that was sent in November. the message was that we wanted a plan to win, and that we didn’t believe the current course was headed toward that goal. nowhere in all the votes cast did I see a mandate for de-funding the war. the american people weren’t close to suggesting that the democrats should oppose a troop surge that could be an important measure to stabilize Baghdad, as well as being another step toward the withdrawal of our troops from iraq.

in order to call for the immediate withdrawal of our troops from iraq, several questions have to be asked. those who take this position have to realistically deal with the consequences of taking this action. if iraq degrades into more of a bloody mess than they believe it already is, what then? do we then send troops back into iraq, or do we leave iraq to fend for itself? if so, then it would make more sense to support the surge and to give it a fair chance to work before completely throwing the iraqis to the sectarian wolves.

some examples from history might suggest that we should give the surge a chance to work before completely abandoning the iraq project.

In 1973, a heavily Democratic Congress voted to prohibit U.S. air support for Cambodia’s pro-American army, then desperately fending off the communist Khmer Rouge insurgents. In early 1975, Congress cut off all U.S. military aid for Cambodia.

Predictably, Cambodian government forces were soon defeated by the Khmer Rouge, then backed by Communist China and North Vietnam.

What followed was one of the great horrors of the 20th century – the genocidal slaughter by the Khmer Rouge of 2 million Cambodians, roughly 40 percent of Cambodia’s population.

In 1974-75, an even more heavily Democratic Congress drastically cut U.S. military and economic assistance to our ally South Vietnam, even as the Soviet Union was illegally flooding North Vietnam with heavy weapons. The subsequent North Vietnamese invasion of South Vietnam overran our ally, took Saigon, and promptly imposed a Stalinist dictatorship that resulted in the deaths and imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese.

it’s easy to understand why the democrats are where they are with this war. it has nothing to do with sympathy for terrorists. democrats aren’t evil. they just don’t see the point in supporting a mission that they believe has already been doomed to fail. that’s a legitimate position to take, and it has quite a bit of popular support in the drive-by media and in the public at large. at this point, the only fingers of blame being pointed are at our commander-in-chief, and to a lesser degree, hillary clinton. the democrats don’t want to take any responsibility for this war. they don’t want this war to be their problem, because after all, bush started it, right?

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