not likely

Our lovable Vice President Joe Biden talking to Larry King:

I am very optimistic about — about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You’re going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You’re going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government.

I spent — I’ve been there 17 times now. I go about every two months — three months. I know every one of the major players in all of the segments of that society. It’s impressed me. I’ve been impressed how they have been deciding to use the political process rather than guns to settle their differences.

I’m obviously blinded by my anti-Obama bias, because it’s not clear to me how this administration gets credit for Iraq.

I would say that the credit for that should go to President Bush, just like the credit / blame for deficits, the stimulus, the bailouts,  and every struggle that our new President has to deal with right now.   Didn’t President Obama run for president as an anti-war candidate?  Why yes.  Didn’t VP Biden propose that Iraq be divided up into three partitions to keep the peace there? Yes again. It takes an incredible amount of nerve for this administration to attempt this argument when President Obama has opposed the war from the beginning.   But it could just be VP Biden talking out of school, as he is often prone to do…

Fair is fair.  If everything previous to the Obama administration is Bush’s fault (and Iraq is part of that), then any success there should be credited not to President Obama, but to his predecessor.

Now, that said — if Iraq becomes a stable ally to the United States, and a useful partner in that dangerous region of the world, ultimately I don’t care who gets the credit.   The end game is far more important to me than political points for Republicans or Democrats.


The left should be grateful to this president for all the money they have made off of his presidency.  Criticism of President Bush is a very profitable business.  We have numerous examples of this, from former WH aides and former military personnel to talk show hosts with no greater purpose in life than to criticize the Bush administration for every single thing it does.  Why else would MSNBC give Olbermann millions of dollars for no noticeable talent other than saying inflammatory things about Bush and our military?  Say what you want about Iraq.  There’s nothing wrong with voicing opposition to the war, but those who watch the news recognize bias when they see it.  Unfortunately, it’s less clear when the media lies to the public to boost its own standing with their colleagues — whether it’s to fatten their wallets or increase their reputation with the popular anti-war people.

Scott McClellan is not blazing any new ground here with his tell-all book.  Has he gained any more credibility than he had when he was fired as Press Secretary?  Doubtful.  Why is that the left suddenly finds him to be a credible source?  Could it be because he now agrees with them on the Iraq war?  If you didn’t believe him before, why believe him now?  What Scott McClellan will soon find out is that the left will use him for their own ends, and then go back to laughing at him behind his back.  If he was really disallusioned by his experience in the Bush administration, I think it’s fair to let him know that his new friends may not be around very long — hope the publicity and some indirect money from George Soros was worth the price he paid for them.

And BTW, even arch-enemy David Gregory isn’t buying McClellan’s anti-Bush spin (h/t Townhall).

On Wednesday’s edition of “Today,” “NBC Nightly News” reporter David Gregory, who covered the White House while McClellan was spokesman, said, “There was never any indication that Scott McClellan, either publicly or privately, held these kinds of views about what was happening at the time on the war, on Katrina, on the leak case — which was his most difficult hour in the White House. He never expressed anything like this.”

I don’t share the opinion of those who believe that McClellan’s book will have a significant impact on the presidential race.  Those who aren’t intimately acquainted with campaign minutia like this (the average voter, for example) won’t pay much attention to what McClellan says.  To them, it’s just another WH tell-all that doesn’t add much to the discussion of where we are now and what to do next in Iraq.


Apparently there are still folks who not only believe the Democrats have made a serious attempt to end the war in Iraq, they also believe that electing a Democrat as President in 2008 will mean all of the troops come home. Unless the country decides to take a chance on Kucinich, Gravel, or Richardson, it’s not going to happen. The left would have a better shot at this outcome if a Democrat was elected, of course, but Hillary hasn’t committed to the kind of troop withdrawal they want. They know this, which is why there are so many posts on the progressive blogs chastising the Dems for giving in to Bush on the war in Iraq. They are right to be critical, since if the Democrats really wanted to end the war and bring the troops home, they could refuse to fund the war. It’s politically suicidal, but many on the left don’t care much about that. Why should they? It’s not their jobs on the line.

Carolyn Lockhead expands on this point in the San Francisco Chronicle, trying to give her fellow travelers a clue. Good luck with that, Carolyn.

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hurry up and wait

Michael Ramirez in Investor’s Business Daily:

We live in a society with a short attention span, bent on immediate gratification.

One wonders if Americans today would support a war that took eight years to introduce democracy, four more years to finalize a constitutional framework, two additional years to establish a working government and two years beyond that to secure individual rights and liberties for its citizens.

If this war produced nothing more than a temporary union that was later torn asunder by an even larger civil war, would there be open rebellion?

Fortunately, another generation of Americans made that commitment long ago. It resulted in the creation of a nation that has become a beacon of democracy and freedom for future generations — the United States of America.

Iraq will take time. Will we have the patience to see it through to the end?

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george will gives up on iraq

…A democracy, wrote the diplomat and scholar George Kennan, “fights for the very reason that it was forced to go to war. It fights to punish the power that was rash enough and hostile enough to provoke it — to teach that power a lesson it will not forget, to prevent the thing from happening again. Such a war must be carried to the bitter end.” Which is why “unconditional surrender” was a natural U.S. goal in World War II, and why Americans were so uncomfortable with three “wars of choice” since then — in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.

What “forced” America to go to war in 2003 — the “gathering danger” of weapons of mass destruction — was fictitious. That is one reason why this war will not be fought, at least not by Americans, to the bitter end. The end of the war will, however, be bitter for Americans, partly because the president’s decision to visit Iraq without visiting its capital confirmed the flimsiness of the fallback rationale for the war — the creation of a unified, pluralist Iraq.

After more than four years of war, two questions persist: Is there an Iraq? Are there Iraqis?

excerpt from “By Bush’s Own Standard, Surge Has Failed

George Will is a reasonable man, and it’s hard to disagree with his assessment of the lack of political progress in Iraq. Even with all of the military gains we have made during the surge, it’s undeniable that there is more work to be done with Iraq’s government and making sure that all of Iraq’s minority groups have a voice in its governance. General Petraeus said as much during his statement to the Congress Monday and Tuesday.

We are at an unfortunate point in the Iraq War. If we continue on the current course, we will continue to make military progress in Iraq, but that progress might not be fast enough to convince the American people that it’s taking place. If we withdraw as the Democrats want to do, it will strengthen Iran — a country which is clearly helping the insurgents and terrorists and one close to nuclear capability — and it certainly won’t hurt Al Qaeda recruitment efforts. Either way, there are no guarantees that the political progress we all want to see will happen. The question is how long we are willing to wait for that progress.

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something barack obama needs to explain

Check out this lede from Philip Elliott, AP writer, in his article titled, “Obama: Don’t stay in Iraq over genocide”.

He says:

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn’t a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.

Obama goes on to say that he believes that there will be bloodshed after we leave Iraq, and yet he thinks that the risk is greater if we stay than if we continue to “occupy Iraq and serve as a magnet for terrorist activity”. Well, at least Obama has acknowledged the possibility that there wouldn’t be a painless exit from Iraq. That’s a possibility not many Democrats are willing to even consider.

Barack Obama seems to believe that the answer to Iraq is international forces and more diplomacy. He sees the situation in Iraq as hopeless and chaotic enough that our troops should leave. He appears to suggest that it is time to let the Iraqis deal with the consequences of not meeting their political objectives. Many Democrats agree with Obama on this, but some are more committed to troop withdrawal than others. It’s a sympathetic position to take, even for a few stray Republicans who are deserting the President on this war.

If that’s his position, then how can he then support US military intervention in Darfur? What makes the Iraqis less worthy of being saved from genocide than the Sudanese?

Continue reading

fun with quotes

Who said this:

Saddam Hussein’s regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal. Iraq has continued to seek nuclear weapons and develop its arsenal in defiance of the collective will of the international community, as expressed through the United Nations Security Council.

It is violating the terms of the 1991 cease-fire that ended the Gulf war and as many as 16 Security Council resolutions, including 11 resolutions concerning Iraq’s efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. By ignoring these resolutions, Saddam Hussein is undermining the credibility of the United Nations, openly violating international law, and making a mockery of the very idea of collective action that is so important to the United States and its allies. We cannot allow Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons in violation of his own commitments, our commitments, and the world’s commitments.

This resolution will send a clear message to Iraq and the world: America is united in its determination to eliminate forever the threat of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction… Almost no one disagrees with these basic facts: that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a menace; that he has weapons of mass destruction and that he is doing everything in his power to get nuclear weapons; that he has supported terrorists; that he is a grave threat to the region, to vital allies like Israel, and to the United States; and that he is thwarting the will of the international community and undermining the United Nations’ credibility.

That stirring defense of the war, helpfully provided by deputy assistant to the President Peter Wehner here, was made by none other than former Senator John Edwards. So not only did he vote to authorize the war in Iraq, he actually tried to convince others to do the same with the exact same arguments used by the Bush administration. I’m not sure a simple “I was wrong” should be sufficient for the anti-war left to embrace Edwards, but apparently it is.

Edwards calls the global war on terror a bumper-sticker slogan. You can deride the terminology, dismiss it as a useless Bush formulation, and disapprove of Bush’s handling of foreign policy. But no matter what you call it, the threat of Islamic extremism leading to terrorist activity is real, and we need to be proactive in dealing with that threat. John Edwards is doing what he has to do to keep his base on his side, even if that means saying things that the rest of the country does not agree with. This may win him a few netroots fans, but it’s no way to win a Democratic primary or general election.

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good point

WITHOUT meaning to do so, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has pushed the debate on Iraq in a new direction.Reid claims that the war is lost and that the United States has already been defeated.

By advancing the claim, Reid has moved the debate away from the initial antiwar obsession with the legal and diplomatic controversies that preceded it.

At the same time, Reid has parted ways with Democratic leaders such as Sen. Hillary Clinton, who supported the war but who now claims that its conduct has been disastrous. What they mean, by implication, is that a Democratic president would do better than George W. Bush and win the war.

Reid’s new position, however, means that even a Democratic president wouldn’t be able to ensure a U.S. victory in Iraq. For him, Iraq is irretrievably lost.

Some antiwar analysts have praised Reid for what they term “his clarity of perception.” A closer examination, however, would show that Reid might have added to the confusion that has plagued his party over the issue from the start.

Because all wars have winners and losers, Reid, having identified America as the loser, is required to name the winner. This Reid cannot do.

The reason is that, whichever way one looks at the situation, America and its Iraqi allies remain the only objective victors in this war.

Amir Taheri in the New York Post

Read it all here. It is a different view to say that under competent management, Iraq is a war that can be won. What Harry Reid is saying is that there is no way anyone can manage a successful end to the war in Iraq.  He asks the question of who the winner of the war is…if the United States has truly lost it, and there doesn’t seem to be one at this point. This won’t always be the case if the Democrats succeed in ending our involvement in Iraq.

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