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.

very impressive

I’ve had doubts about President Obama since I first took a look at his campaign, but even I didn’t expect this level of confusion.

Now-Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner –  isn’t too keen on paying taxes, even when it’s clearly explained to him how to do it.  It inspires such confidence knowing that our Treasury Secretary can’t handle his own taxes or even manage to find himself a decent accountant to keep track of those things for him.  This is the only guy who can solve the economy?  If so, we are in deep trouble.  Shame on the Republicans who voted to confirm him.

Former HHS nominee – Senator Daschle – married to a super-lobbyist,  didn’t consider the tax implications of having his own personal limo driver “kindly lent to him” by a friend with absolutely no strings attached. Is he the only one capable of forcing through universal health care?   That’s doubtful.

Watch as the former senator rails against tax cheats.  Good stuff.  Wish I could embed this video.

Former Chief Performance Officer nominee – Nancy Killefer, felled by nanny issues and tax issues.

Then there’s the botched handling of General Anthony Zinni.  He was reportedly offered the job of ambassador to Iraq by Secretary of State Clinton, then President Obama changed his mind and withdrew the offer.   Can’t say I understand the President’s reasoning here, especially when they have apparently decided to give the job to Bush’s assistant secretary of State for East Asia, Chris Hill. Is there something else we don’t know about him that’s fatally damaging?  Kind of makes you wonder, based on the current pattern of Obama nominees.

There’s more Cabinet members worthy of skepticism, including AG Eric Holder, but I think these are enough examples of the flaws in President Obama’s vetting process.  This is truly ethics and competence we can believe in.  Not to mention that great judgment Obama was always bragging about…

President Obama says “I screwed up” when talking about some of these picks.  Good for him.  He doesn’t get extra credit for taking responsibility for his mistakes.  I just hope that he’s a quick study on how to deal with our allies and our enemies.  Foreign policy is an area where a simple “Oops” or “I screwed up” may not be sufficient to obtain forgiveness from the American people.


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.

more cheap shots

Apparently my previous post struck a nerve with my buddy Chris.  I don’t recall saying anything about cheap shots being the sole domain of the Democrats.  I also think there’s a difference between saying something really stupid, like the GOP Congressional candidate he mentions in his post, and calling a candidate a “warmonger” and a “blatant opportunist”. I do give Obama credit for apologizing for Ed Schultz, but he had to do that, even if he agrees with Schultz. It’s hard to decide how outraged to be about what this McCain supporter said about Obama when it’s unclear what the guy meant by that statement (as Chris admits in his post).

I disagree with Chris and with Ed Schultz about McCain being a warmonger.  Maybe it’s the definition we disagree about here.  McCain intends to keep troops in Iraq as long as they are necessary to keep Iraq from falling apart.  You can support that position or not, but this doesn’t automatically make him a warmonger. McCain won’t be trigger-happy on potential future wars.  No one who has served in the military would be.  I thought the Democrats had this view — that those who have never served should have less credibility than those who have when it comes to discussions of war.  There’s another reason that McCain has a stake in Iraq, and it’s that his son is serving there.  Do the Dems really want to argue that McCain wouldn’t take every future decision on what to do next in Iraq seriously with his son’s life on the line?

I’m not trying to defend Iraq.  I don’t think it’s possible to make any progress on that argument at this point, since both sides have dug in their heels and nothing will keep them from believing what they believe about Iraq. But McCain has less faith in the Bush democracy project than he will admit.


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.

Tags: , ,

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?

Tags: , ,

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.

Tags: , ,

this surge strategy could work

Charles Krauthammer:

Ever since the December 2005 Iraqi elections, the U.S. has been waiting for the central government in Baghdad to pass grand national accords on oil, federalism and de-Baathification to unify and pacify the country. The al-Maliki government has proved too sectarian, too weak and perhaps too disposed to Iranian interests to rise to the task.

The Democrats cite this incapacity as a reason to give up and get out. A tempting thought, but ultimately self-destructive to our interests. Accordingly, Petraeus and Crocker have found a Plan B: Pacify the country region by region, principally by getting Sunnis to join the fight against al-Qaida.

This has begun to happen in Anbar and Diyala. First, because al-Qaida are foreigners. So are we, but — reason No. 2 — unlike them, we are not barbarous. We don’t amputate fingers for smoking, decapitate with pleasure and kill Shiites for sport.

Third, al-Qaida’s objectives are not the Sunnis’. Al-Qaida live for endless war and a reborn caliphate. Ultimately, they live to die. Iraqi Sunnis are not looking for a heavenly date with 72 virgins. They are looking for a deal, and perhaps just survival after U.S. troops are gone.

That’s why so many Sunnis have accepted Petraeus’ bargain — they join our fight against al-Qaida, and we give them weaponry and military support. With that, they can rid themselves of the al-Qaida cancer now. And later, when the Americans inevitably leave, they’ll be better positioned to defend themselves against the 80% Shiite-Kurd majority they are beginning to realize they may have unwisely taken on.

It’s definitely a different strategy than the one we had before. This could work. Also worth reading is the Investor’s Business Daily editorial smacking down the pajama party Democrats.  I’ll give you one line: “It’s pathetic when a major political party holds a pajama party to publicize its desire to surrender during a war. But it’s even worse when such shenanigans drown out a vital message from a real leader.” All they are saying is: Give General Petraeus a chance. YEP. Read it.

Tags: , ,

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.

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.

Tags: , ,