Category Archives: military

Another conficting account from Osama bin Ladin SEAL raid

From the Associated Press today:

“The decision to launch on that particular moonless night in May came largely because too many American officials had been briefed on the plan. U.S. officials feared if it leaked to the press, bin Laden would disappear for another decade.”

From President Obama’s appearance on 60 Minutes on Sunday, May 8th:

KROFT: Did you have to suppress the urge to tell someone? Did you wanna tell somebody? Did you wanna tell Michelle? Did you tell Michelle?

OBAMA: You know, one of the great successes of this operation was that we were able to keep this thing secret. And it’s a testimony to how seriously everybody took this operation and the understanding that any leak could end up not only compromising the mission, but killing some of the guys that we were sending in there.

And so very few people in the White House knew. The vast majority of my most senior aides did not know that we were doing this. And, you know, there were times where you wanted to go around and talk this through with some more folks. And that just wasn’t an option.

Last Sunday, as the final preparations for the raid were underway, President Obama continued with his charade of “business as usual.” Most people in the White House, including some of his closest aides, had no idea what was about to happen. To break the tension and to clear his head, he played some golf in the morning, waiting for the sun to go down in Pakistan.

Then he returned to the White House for the most critical 40 minutes of his presidency. In mid-afternoon, he gathered the architects of the mission in a windowless room in the White House basement to watch it all unfold.

So which is it? Did the mission get pushed up because too many people knew? Or did the administration demonstrate great skill and success keeping it under wraps, with just a few key people knowing about it at all?

We can guess which story is more likely to be true based on the fact that the AP story is based accounts from “officials [who] spoke on condition of anonymity to describe a classified operation.” The AP doesn’t make clear who these “officials” are – they could be at the White House, in Congress, at the Pentagon, the CIA… “classified” is evidently defined by some as “you can talk about it all you want, just don’t put your name on it.”

Joe Biden – Chickenhawk Warmonger…

… merely applying the standard the left applies to Vice President Cheney. The AP reports on Joe Biden’s evasion of the draft during the Vietnam war:

Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden received five student draft deferments during the Vietnam War, the same number of deferments received by Vice President Dick Cheney, and later was disqualified from service because of asthma as a teenager.

….

“As a result of a physical exam on April 5, 1968, Joe Biden was classified 1-Y and disqualified from service because of asthma as a teenager,” said David Wade, a campaign spokesman.

In “Promises to Keep,” a memoir that was published last year and became an instant best-seller after he was tapped as Obama’s running mate, Biden never mentions his asthma, recounting an active childhood, work as a lifeguard and football exploits in high school.

We’re sure all the kook-left bloggers who went after Cheney because he avoided the draft will show equal outrage at Biden, who incidentally voted for the war in Iraq, since we learned in 2004 how vitally important Vietnam service is to Democratic “anti-war” activists.

Democratic Cowboy Chickenhawk War-mongers

Good point from Ralph Peters:

AM I the only one who’s noticed the silence? Mere months ago, left-wing bloggers and demonstrators were wailing Support our troops, bring them home! seven days a week.

Now their presidential candidate has announced that he won’t bring all those troops home, but will simply transfer combat forces from Iraq to Afghanistan – expanding that war. (He’s discussed possibly invading Pakistan, too.)

And the left’s quiet as a graveyard at midnight.

Where are the outraged protests from MoveOn or the DailyKos? I thought the extreme left felt sorry for our service members in harm’s way and wanted to reunite them with their families.

What happened?

We all know exactly what happened. The left has nothing against foreign wars (as long as they don’t have to fight in person). They just want to pick our wars themselves.

The problem with Iraq wasn’t that America toppled Saddam Hussein, but that George W. Bush did it. I’ve been saying it for years: Had Bill Clinton done the job, the left would’ve celebrated him as the greatest liberator since Abraham Lincoln.

A new kind of politics…

Former Democratic Party presidential candidate and current Obama campaign flack Gen. Wesley Clark supports chickenhawk warmonger Barack Obama, who never served a day in the military, by attacking John McCain’s military record and supposed lack of executive experience.

Gen. Wesley Clark, acting as a surrogate for Barack Obama’s campaign, invoked John McCain’s military service against him in one of the more personal attacks on the Republican presidential nominee this election cycle.

Clark said that McCain lacked the executive experience necessary to be president, calling him “untested and untried” on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” And in saying so, he took a few swipes at McCain’s military service.

“He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded – that wasn’t a wartime squadron,” Clark said.

Now that’s audacity.

First of all, take note, all you who have proudly served in the military outside of wartime – that experience no longer counts.

How this line helps Obama, who has no military or executive experience at all, is a mystery. But we encourage the Obama campaign to continue with it. By all means, compare your military credentials and experience to Senator McCain’s every day until November.

Remember way back in 2004, when John Kerry’s few months in Vietnam were so critical to his presidential qualifications? Well, by this point, especially after the last few weeks of the Obama campaign, no one is going to accuse the Democrats of being sticklers for consistency.

Update: Illustrating the Democrats’ shifting standards, we found this quote from DNC Chairman Howard Dean, via a helpful commenter at Blackfive:

“The real issue is this,” Dean said in March 2004, when endorsing formal rival Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., “Who would you rather have in charge of the defense of the United States of America, a group of people who never served a day overseas in their life, or a guy who served his country honorably and has three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star on the battlefields of Vietnam?”

Another Update: Some helpful background on McCain’s non-executive experience from The Weekly Standard.

And more from Townhall and Michelle Malkin.

The Washington Post finally notices “The Iraqi Upturn”

An editorial from the Washington Post today:

The Iraqi Upturn
Don’t look now, but the U.S.-backed government and army may be winning the war

THERE’S BEEN a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks — which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war. While Washington’s attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and U.S. forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaeda. So many of its leaders have now been captured or killed that U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists have “never been closer to defeat than they are now.”

This should be kept in mind as the Democrats continue droning on with their partisan, year-old talking points that “the war is lost”, “the surge is a failure”, “the president’s Iraq strategy is a failure”, etc., even as their media allies find it harder to ignore the evidence of success.

The Post tries to instruct Senator Obama:

…the likely Democratic nominee needs a plan for Iraq based on sustaining an improving situation, rather than abandoning a failed enterprise. That will mean tying withdrawals to the evolution of the Iraqi army and government, rather than an arbitrary timetable…

When Mr. Obama floated his strategy for Iraq last year, the United States appeared doomed to defeat. Now he needs a plan for success.

But an arbitrary timetable for withdrawal without regard to the facts on the ground in Iraq is precisely what Obama has been promising. And Obama didn’t merely float a strategy “last year”, he continues ignoring the evidence even today. Senator McCain has said, “I’d rather lose an election than lose a war.” Senator Obama obviously doesn’t agree.

More comments from Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.

obama - words are cheap

What’s better experience for becoming Commander in Chief, military service or First Lady travel?

From Byron York at The Corner on National Review Online:

Wes Clark: McCain Doesn’t Have the Right Kind of Military Experience To Be Commander-in-Chief

“…having served as a fighter pilot – and I know my experience as a company commander in Vietnam – that doesn’t prepare you to be commander-in-chief in terms of dealing with the national strategic issues that are involved.”

Fair enough. Simply having served in the military doesn’t necessarily give one a better national security vision. It would be absurd to conclude that every person who has ever served in the military is automatically qualified to be Commander in Chief. We need only to look back at the Carter vs. Reagan race to prove the point.

But then Clark loses the point by arguing that a little VIP tourism does offer the kind of experience the CiC needs:

If you look at what Hillary Clinton has done during her time as the First Lady of the United States, her travel to 80 countries, her representing the us abroad, plus her years in the Senate, I think she’s the most experienced and capable person in the race…

But of course Senator McCain has traveled the globe as well, and served in the Senate much longer, so Mrs. Clinton loses even on that score, pretty much leaving Clark without much of a point.

It will be interesting to hear the spin from these Democrat, retired military officers when McCain is running against Barack Obama, who has no foreign policy or national security credentials to speak of, even less than Hillary Clinton’s very thin record. And aren’t these some of the same people who were telling us in 2004 how meaningful John Kerry’s 4.5 months in Vietnam were?

NY Times: Democrats refuse to change course in Iraq, despite facts on the ground

The NY Times reports on top Democrats’ refusal to accept reality and change course:

Advisers to Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama say that the candidates have watched security conditions improve after the troop escalation in Iraq and concluded that it would be folly not to acknowledge those gains. At the same time, they are arguing that American casualties are still too high, that a quick withdrawal is the only way to end the war and that the so-called surge in additional troops has not paid off in political progress in Iraq.

In other words, they’ll pay lip service to the real improvements, but not change their strategy prescriptions one iota – all while claiming it’s President Bush who refuses to acknowledge reality or change course. But much more scary is the fact Americans just might choose one of these unqualified and grossly irresponsible people to be Commander-in-Chief next year.

The Times article is titled “As Democrats See Iraq Gains, a Shift in Tone”. But the Democrats haven’t changed their stance at all. They’re saying the exact same things they were saying a year ago, in effect completely denying the new reality on the ground.

The Times also accuses “many Democrats” of not supporting the troops:

This is a delicate matter. By saying the effects of the troop escalation have not led to a healthier political environment, the candidates are tacitly acknowledging that the additional troops have, in fact, made a difference on the ground – a viewpoint many Democratic voters might not embrace.

What does it say about many Democratic voters that they would be reluctant or unwilling to embrace news of success by our military in Iraq – not just that they don’t believe it, but that they don’t seem to want to hear news of success? Not anything good.

Others:
Captain’s Quarters
NewsBusters

The Democrats’ notion of “focusing on counter-terrorism in Iraq” is a bad joke

A report from Yahoo News notes some more garbled thinking from the Democratic leadership (using the term very loosely) in their continued bid to force a U.S. surrender in Iraq. What caught our eye in this one was a line about another effort to roll back the effort that has finally brought success this year –

A separate proposal by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., seeks to restrict the troops’ mission to fighting terrorists and training the Iraqi security force.

The idea that the battle is going to be neatly compartmentalized is ridiculous on its face. If their thinking wasn’t so dangerous it would be a joke.

On Meet the Press Sunday, Senator McCain ably mocked the ludicrous idea of separating the battle against terrorists in Iraq from battles against “non-terrorists” –

SEN. McCAIN: But the fact is, but the fact is when, when, when Senator Kerry says that we will just take care of al-Qaeda, then you go into a place where they’re fighting. “Excuse me, sir. Are you al-Qaeda or Sunni or Shia?” Please.

Perhaps Senator Levin has this covered in his proposed bill. He could call for terrorists to identify themselves in some way – maybe with colorful hats

AQI_hat

or maybe “I’m with al Qaeda” t-shirts.

The Democrats are really tying themselves in knots trying to justify their defeatism and double standards … “Iraq has nothing to do with the war on terror, but we want our troops in Iraq to focus on counter-terrorism … while we complain there are too few troops to fight al Qaeda in Afghanistan, we call for fewer troops to fight terrorists in Iraq, which has nothing to do with the war on terror … sure, they call themselves al Qaeda in Iraq and claim allegiance to Osama bin Ladin, but they’re not really al Qaeda … WE’RE GOING TO END THE WAR AND BRING OUR TROOPS HOME NOW! … But of course we’re going to leave a substantial number of troops in Iraq to fight terrorists … even though the real war on terror is only in Afghanistan …”

They obviously count on the average voter not paying close attention or trying to keep it all straight. Unfortunately, they seem quite able to get away with it so far.

CNN: “Dems join GOP in slamming ad attacking Petraeus” Uh, not quite

Well, liberal Democrats certainly have loose standards for what constitutes “slamming”. How nice of CNN to go to bat for their colleagues in Congress.

The headline at cnn.com reads “Dems join GOP in slamming ad attacking Petraeus”.

The story says of Senate majority leader Harry Reid:

When asked early Monday if this was the right message for his party to send, the Nevada Democrat curtly answered, “No.”

“No.”

Wow, what a powerful, heartfelt, and eloquent statement!

An unnamed “senior Democratic leadership aide” went so much further:

In a separate conversation, a senior Democratic leadership aide called the ad an “unnecessary distraction” and said Democrats are prepared to focus on “Petraeus executing a mismanaged mission.”

Note there’s no “slamming” or even condemnation of the slanderous moveon.org ad at all. It’s just strategically unhelpful to the Democrats at this point.

Surprisingly, Senator John Kerry made a pretty reasonable statement against the ad –

Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, called the ad “over the top.”

“I don’t like any kind of characterizations in our politics that call into question any active duty, distinguished general who I think under any circumstances serves with the best interests of our country,” said Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate and a decorated veteran.

“I think there are a lot of legitimate questions that need to be asked, a lot of probing that ought to take place; there’s a lot of legitimate accountability that needs to be achieved. It ought to be done without casting any aspersions on anyone’s character or motives,” he added.

– but that hardly constitutes a “slam” against the ad or the disgusting hate group that produced it.

Update: via Michelle Malkin, a telling quote –

“‘No one wants to call [Petraeus] a liar on national TV,’ noted one Democratic senator, who spoke on the condition on anonymity. ‘The expectation is that the outside groups will do this for us.'”

On the plus side, sort of, at least they haven’t started spitting on the troops yet this time.

Senator Harry Reid: tens of thousands of U.S. troops to remain in Iraq

Yesterday, Democratic Senator Harry Reid called for a continued presence of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq:

“Understand even if you take (the) Feingold-Reid (proposal), Feingold-Reid called for American troops to remain in Iraq to do counterterrorism, to protect our assets in Iraq, to train the Iraqis,” Reid explained. “There’s estimates that that would still leave tens of thousands of troops in Iraq.”

[Reid] also said, “No one is calling for a precipitous withdrawal in Iraq.”

But Reid’s second assertion is not true. There is strong support on the left for a complete withdrawal from Iraq:

So the Senate consensus this week is building for partial withdrawal of American forces, with the remaining troops – the exact number unspecified by senators who speak on the topic – garrisoned inside U.S. bases in Iraq.

This outcome would not satisfy presidential contender Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., who has staked out the position of calling for complete exit of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Of course, Richardson is taking that position to appeal to a large segment of the Democratic party primary electorate. And essentially all the Democratic party leadership has been making statements about “ending the war” and “getting our troops home” for months or years now, without indicating that tens of thousands would remain in Iraq.

This item from Senators Robert Byrd and Hillary Clinton yesterday is a typical Democrat statement on the war:

This is not the fight Congress authorized, Mr. President. If you want to continue to wage this fight, come to Congress and make your case. Otherwise, bring our troops home.

There’s nothing in the column indicating that tens of thousands of troops would remain in Iraq. (Tellingly, there’s no mention at all of al Qaeda in the column either.)

And from the National Journal’s Blogometer:

[Lefty nutroots blogger Chris] Bowers responds [to the Reid statement]: “Wow. This is a remarkable admission, and one that virtually every Democratic politician has avoided like the plague. … After all, Democrats don’t exactly want to go around boasting that they will keep “tens of thousands” of troops in Iraq after claiming for nearly a year that we will end the war once in power.”

Democrats claiming one thing publicly while actually planning something else entirely? Color us shocked!

As for the idea of leaving a smaller force in Iraq for counter-terrorism operations, recall that these are some of the exact same people who complained that President Bush didn’t leave enough troops in Afghanistan for counter-terrorism operations. Now they want to leave fewer troops in Iraq for counter-terrorism operations, while leaving tens of thousands of troops in Iraq, while claiming they want to “end the war.” The utter incoherence makes one’s head spin.

The Democrats’ twin goals are to damage President Bush and to fool more people into voting for them so they can win the next election. Any harm done to the national interest is just collateral damage.