Category Archives: war

Barack Obama embraces President Bush’s Iraq policy

How exactly is this any different from President Bush’s position? –

It’s very hard to anticipate what it’s going to be like six months from now. We saw how rapidly things have changed over the last six months, because of not only the extraordinary work of our armed forces, but also the shift in attitudes of tribal leaders in places like Anbar, the Mahdi army’s decision to — for now at least — to stand down the more aggressive posture that the Maliki government took in going into places like Basra.

So if current trends continue and we are at a position where we continue to see reductions in violence and stabilization and continue to see some improvements on the part of the Iraqi army and Iraqi police, then my hope would be that we could draw down in a deliberate fashion in consultation with the Iraqi government at a pace that is determined in consultation with General Petraeus and the other commanders on the ground. It strikes me that that is something we could begin relatively soon after inauguration. If, on the other hand, you’ve got a deteriorating situation for some reason, then that’s going to have to be taken into account.

Sounds just like “return on success”.

It is nice though to finally hear a Democrat acknowledge the reality of the success of the president’s surge strategy. It’s really just tiresome to hear the Democrats keep repeating the same old talking points from 2 years ago over and over as if nothing has changed.

The Washington Post encourages Obama’s more realistic position:

BARACK OBAMA has taken a small but important step toward adjusting his outdated position on Iraq to the military and strategic realities of the war he may inherit. Sadly, he seems to be finding that the strident and rigid posture he struck during the primary campaign — during which he promised to withdraw all combat forces in 16 months — is inhibiting what looks like a worthy, necessary attempt to create the room for maneuver he will need to capably manage the war if he becomes president.

What are all the nutroots bloggers and activists going to do now that Senator Obama is adopting the strategy vision of the Outlaw Bu$hCo Regime? If he eventually goes all the way and talks about “victory in Iraq” their heads are all going to explode.


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

Democrats OUTRAGED! by President’s anti-appeasement comments

It’s quite funny to watch the Democrats sputtering in phony outrage over the president’s comments to the Israeli Knesset about the dangers of trying to appease our jihadist enemies.

There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain their words away. This is natural. But it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously. Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century.

Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: “Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.” We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.

Upon hearing this passage, which you’ll note does not refer to anyone by name, several Democrats immediately assumed the president must be talking about them, especially the ever self-referential Barack Obama:

“It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence to launch a false political attack,” Obama said in a statement released to CNN by his campaign. “It is time to turn the page on eight years of policies that have strengthened Iran and failed to secure America or our ally Israel….”

“George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists, and the president’s extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel,” Obama’s statement said.

Wow, touchy, touchy. Imagine if the president had actually mentioned Obama. But of course Obama did say he would sit down without conditions with the Iranian regime, which supports terrorism and has called for the elimination of Israel. Ultimately though, if the Democrats don’t want to be attacked for being weak on matters of national security, then they ought to stop being weak on matters of national security.

And incidentally, they might have a shred of credibility left if they had exhibited the slightest outrage when their own Dick “Pol Pot” Durbin compared U.S. servicemen to Nazis, for example.

A real criticism of the president might be to say it’s a foolish delusion to keep trying to carve a state from the terror havens of Gaza and the West Bank, even as rockets continue to rain down on innocent civilians in Israel. But the Democrats aren’t going to make that case.

Pentagon Report Documents Iraq – al Qaeda Connections…

…and the corrupt and/or incompetent DeMSM grossly misrepresent its findings –

The headline from ABC News: “Report Shows No Link Between Saddam and al Qaeda”

From the NY Times: “Oh, By the Way, There Was No Al Qaeda Link”

From CNN: “The U.S. military’s first and only study looking into ties between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and al Qaeda showed no connection between the two, according to a military report released by the Pentagon.”

But from the actual report from the Pentagon (via The Weekly Standard):

The Iraqi Perspectives Project (IPP) review of captured Iraqi documents
uncovered strong evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional
and global terrorism. Despite their incompatible long-term goals, many
terrorist movements and Saddam found a common enemy in the United States. At
times these organizations worked together, trading access for capability. In the
period after the 1991 Gulf War, the regime of Saddam Hussein supported a complex
and increasingly disparate mix of pan-Arab revolutionary causes and emerging
pan-Islamic radical movements. The relationship between Iraq and forces of
pan-Arab socialism was well known and was in fact one of the defining qualities
of the Ba’ath movement.

But the relationships between Iraq and the groups advocating
radical pan-Islamic doctrines are much more complex. This study found no
“smoking gun” (i.e., direct connection) between Saddam’s Iraq and al Qaeda.
Saddam’s interest in, and support for, non-state actors was spread across a variety
of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic terrorist organizations. Some
in the regime recognized the potential high internal and external costs of maintaining
relationships with radical Islamic groups, yet they concluded that in some
cases, the benefits of association outweighed the risks.


When attacking Western interests, the competitive terror cartel
came into play, particularly in the late 1990s. Captured documents reveal that the
regime was willing to co-opt or support organizations it knew to be part of al
Qaeda – as long as that organization’s near-term goals supported Saddam’s longterm


Saddam’s interest in, and support for, non-Iraqi non-state actors was
spread across a wide variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic
terrorist organizations. For years, Saddam maintained training camps for foreign
“fighters” drawn from these diverse groups. In some cases, particularly for Palestinians,
Saddam was also a strong financial supporter. Saddam supported groups
that either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad,
led at one time by bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri) or that generally
shared al Qaeda’s stated goals and objectives.

No unbiased, objective reading of the report justifies the headlines used by ABC News or the NY Times, period.

UPDATE: Stephen F. Hayes has a detailed article on the Pentagon report at The Weekly Standard.

Hot Air
The Corner

United Nations condemns Israel for self defense

From the AP (via Yahoo News):

The U.N. Security Council issued a media statement early Sunday condemning the escalation of fighting in southern Israel and Gaza and urging Israelis and Palestinians “to immediately cease all acts of violence.”

So after the Palestinians rain down thousands of missiles into Israeli neighborhoods month after month, as soon as the Israelis take any action in self defense the UN finally gets interested in a non-judgmental call for an end to “all acts of violence”. This is typical and unsurprising from the UN, an institution for which becoming merely useless would be a step up.

The statement, though not a formal resolution, also stressed that the violence “must not be allowed to deter the political process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority aimed at establishing two states – Israel and Palestine – living side by side in peace and security.”

But this is based on a basic untruth. The Palestinians, or at least certainly their “government”, have shown no sign that their aim is to establish two states. They still express the idea that they want one state, “Palestine”, after destroying Israel. And it cannot really now be claimed that the “government” of “Palestine” does not represent the views of the Palestinian people, because they elected two terrorist organizations, Fatah and Hamas, to head their “government”.

Such resolutions have failed repeatedly in the past because of U.S. and European objections that they are not balanced in their condemnation “” and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters as he left the meeting that “it’s not a balanced resolution, certainly.”

But what is needed is not “balance”, but acknowledgment that there is a right and a wrong here: the Palestinians are the terrorist aggressors, and the Israelis are trying to defend themselves. We didn’t demand a “balanced condemnation” of the U.S. and al Qaeda after 9/11. There should be no promises of recognition of a state of Palestine until they fully renounce terrorism and recognize the right of Israel to exist.

Barack Obama on 60 Minutes

Steve Kroft interviewed Barack Obama Sunday night on 60 Minutes. Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton talk about “bringing our troops home” and “ending the war in Iraq” if they become president, but occasionally they offer various caveats and loopholes when pinned down on whether some troops will remain Iraq. Obama seems to have opened what may be the biggest loophole yet Sunday night.

“What do you think of what’s going on in Iraq right now?” Kroft asked.

“Well, I think, on the positive side, we’ve seen a reduction in violence. And I don’t think anybody can deny that,” Obama said. “What we haven’t seen is the kind of political reconciliation or accommodation between the Sunni and the Shia and the Kurds that are required in order for Iraq to stabilize. But I completely reject the notion, you know, most forcefully presented by John McCain that we should commit ourselves to a 50-year or a 60-year or a 100-year occupation in order to assure stability in Iraq. I think that is a recipe for disaster.”

“At a time when American casualties are down, at a time when the violence is down, particularly affecting the Iraqi population, is that the right time to try and set time tables for withdrawing all American troops? I mean you talked about…the end of 2009,” Kroft remarked.

“Yeah, absolutely. I think now is precisely the time. I think that it is very important for us to send a clear signal to the Iraqis that we are not gonna be here permanently. We’re not gonna set up permanent bases. That they are going to have to resolve their differences and get their country functioning,” Obama said.

And you pull out according to that time table, regardless of the situation? Even if there’s serious sectarian violence?” Kroft asked.

No, I always reserve as commander in chief, the right to assess the situation,” Obama replied.

“The right to assess the situation” could lead to anything. We’d hope it would lead to putting our national security interest ahead of catering to the defeatist peacenik left-wing base of the Democratic party. We suspect that either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, when given daily briefs predicting mass slaughter and a safe haven for al Qaeda in Iraq, would shy away from making their first act in office a military surrender, but we’d rather not take the chance; the stakes are way too high. Who thinks bugging out of Iraq would demonstrate our resolve to our enemies in Afghanistan (or Pakistan, or Iran), rather than causing them to have greater hope of victory? The answer should be obvious. Jihadists all over the world would rejoice, new recruits would join the cause, and their resolve to fight on would be bolstered. The outcome in Iraq will not affect only Iraq.

(Update: Looks like the McCain campaign is on the case.)

Senators Obama and Clinton should be asked what they would do if their CIA director ever says it’s a “slam dunk” that some rogue dictator who’s been considered for years to be a security threat to the U.S. is developing WMD, including nukes. Would they sit on their hands, or act?

Obama also offered some ideas on how the money used to defend Iraq could have been spent, in an alternate reality where Saddam Hussein wasn’t considered a threat in the consensus view and al Qaeda in Iraq has nothing to do with al Qaeda everywhere else:

“It has cost us over half a trillion dollars so far. When the final tab is tallied it may have cost us as much as two trillion dollars,” Obama said at a stump speech. “For that amount of money we could have rebuilt every bridge, every road, every school, every hospital. We could have put in place all the homeland security that was needed. We could have made America more safe. Could put people back to work. Sent our kids to college.”

But of course while the constitution gives the president authority in matters of national security and foreign policy, it doesn’t grant the power to rebuild every bridge, school, and hospital in America, to “put people back to work” whatever that means, or to pay for his kids’ college. This notion that the federal government should provide everything to everybody is in line with the generally utopian, totalitarian world view of the left.

Update: Somewhat in that vein, here is a little Che chic at one of Obama’s campaign offices in Houston, Texas. Of course Obama didn’t hang a flag of Che Guevara in his office, but it does say something that his supporters are people who think Che is worthy of honor, and saw nothing wrong with hanging a picture of the murderer in their office.

They were for waterboarding before they were against it

The Washington Post reports today, leading Democrats were briefed back in September 2002 about the CIA’s interrogation program, including waterboarding, and raised no objections then.

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

“The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough,” said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange.

Congressional leaders from both parties would later seize on waterboarding as a symbol of the worst excesses of the Bush administration’s counterterrorism effort. …

This is just another in a long line of examples of the Democrats taking an important issue of national security and cynically exploiting it purely for partisan political advantage.

The Democrats keep complaining about America’s reputation in the world. Maybe that reputation would be better if they’d quit undermining it with so much slanderous partisan rhetoric.

Jules Crittenden responds with some good and very appropriate mockery of the Democrats’ poll-driven approach to issues of national security:

Not fair! The Dems have a political operation to run, and if they are going to govern by poll, it really isn’t sporting for people to start poking around in what they did or didn’t do, think and say when the polls were blowing in a different direction! Next thing you know, someone’s going to say the Clinton co-presidency thought Saddam had a nuclear program and backed regime change.

More from Captain’s Quarters:

That doesn’t settle the question as to whether waterboarding constitutes torture, but it certainly calls into question the notion that politics has nothing to do with the debate. … Only well after the practice had been abandoned did Congress raise objections to its use, and then never acknowledging their own acquiescence to it earlier. That lack of honesty allowed them to paint themselves as shocked, shocked! that waterboarding had been used as an interrogation technique.

In related matters, via Instapundit here is an excellent video documenting the Democrats’ irresponsible duplicity on the lead-up to and justification for the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

The Gospel according to Howard Dean

OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” had this line from a spam email supposedly from DNC chairman Howard Dean:

Join me and remind every Republican presidential candidate that all Americans want to be inspired by hope, not governed by fear. Tell them to listen to the intelligence community

But isn’t that precisely what the Bush administration did with regard to Iraq, listen to the intelligence community? Yes, in fact it is – the consensus view from the intelligence community before the invasion was that Iraq was a national security threat, was a state sponsor of terrorism, and had and/or was developing WMD.

Democrat leaders ought to be asked by some enterprising reporter why they think the latest NIE on Iran is inarguable Gospel, as opposed to the last one in 2005, and why the president should listen to the intelligence community in 2007, but should have not listened to them in 2002.

Democrats debate in Fantasyland, Iowa

The AP reports (via Yahoo News), the Democrats made up some nonsense about the president and his party, then argued over it, without any real examination of their assertions from the press of course:

“The seven candidates participating in the debate began by agreeing that the United States should shift its focus in dealing with Iran to diplomatic engagement.”

But that’s what has already been happening. The Bush administration has not taken military action against Iran, nor has the administration advocated doing so. Saying that the military option might be necessary in the future is not advocacy of an attack. The administration has relied on multi-national diplomatic efforts and pressed for UN sanctions. Whether that is the right approach or not is a separate issue. For the Democrats to deny this is either delusional or dishonest.

Agreeing with the administration while claiming to disagree with the administration, projecting, and denying reality at the same time, Barack Obama said:

“President Bush continues to not let facts get in the way of his ideology,” said Obama. “They should have stopped the saber rattling, should have never started it. And they need, now, to aggressively move on the diplomatic front.”

Saying nothing, Joe Biden added this non sequitur:

“With all due respect with anybody who thinks that pressure brought this about, let’s get this straight. In 2003, they stopped their program,” Biden said.

In a group non sequitur, the Democratic candidates agreed they’re against vigilantism:

The discussion of immigration was in sharp contrast to the Republican debate last week in which the GOP candidates tried to outmaneuver each other on who would be tougher on illegal immigrants. The Democratic candidates said they were not willing to encourage Americans to arrest illegal citizens. [emphasis added]

“We do not deputize the American people to do the job that the federal government is supposed to do,” Obama said.

Kucinich agreed, saying, “We don’t encourage vigilantism in this country.”

We’re not sure what an “illegal citizen” is, and the AP reporter doesn’t explain. Probably just a Freudian slip on her part. Leaving that aside, neither the reporter nor the Democratic candidates bothered to explain who on the Republican side has ever called for American citizens to go out and arrest illegal aliens.

To summarize – the Bush administration has not engaged in any diplomacy with Iran, the diplomacy the administration has engaged in with Iran has not worked at all, despite the report stating the Iranians suspended their nuclear program, and the Republicans want ordinary Americans to go out and round up illegal aliens. All this from the “reality based community.”

If any of these people manages to fool enough Americans to vote for them for president, we’re in real trouble.

Reuters spins the new NIE on Iran

From Reuters (via Yahoo News), another example of the sort of bias and spin employed by the DeMSM as they report on the Bush administration:

“A new U.S. intelligence report says Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and it remains on hold, contradicting the Bush administration’s earlier assertion that Tehran was intent on developing a bomb.”

But this statement, attributing the assertion that Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons to the Bush administration, is contradicted by Reuters’ own article, which says the current NIE “…marked a sharp contrast to an intelligence report two years ago that stated Iran was ‘determined to develop nuclear weapons.'”

You see? When the intelligence community says Iran is pursuing nukes, that’s a Bush administration assertion. When the same intelligence community says Iran is not pursuing nukes, that’s the intelligence community contradicting the administration.

And how does Reuters know with such high confidence which of these two contradictory assessments from the same intelligence community is the correct one? They don’t, they’re simply assuming that the one they like is the right one.

“Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, who have repeatedly accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, were briefed on the new NIE last Wednesday.”

No, they have repeatedly relied on the earlier intelligence assesment, that said “Iran was ‘determined to develop nuclear weapons.'” Reuters is again attributing to the administration those assessments Reuters doesn’t want to hear.

Administration officials denied the new NIE had exposed a serious intelligence lapse but could not explain how agencies failed to detect for four years that Iran’s nuclear weapons program had been halted.

And again, Reuters assumes the more recent NIE is the correct one. Why is the latest one right, and the one two years ago wrong? Because it fits their agenda, end of issue.

We don’t know which assessment is correct, but neither does Reuters. Apparently, neither does the intelligence community -Reuters reports:

…the latest NIE concluded: “We do not know whether (Iran) currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.”

That’s a real confidence builder from our multi-million dollar intelligence apparatus.

But given the always-present uncertainty (see Iraq for example), should the benefit of the doubt be given to the crazy leaders of Iran, who routinely call for genocide against Israel and shout “Death to America”?

More spin from the NY Times
Michelle Malkin has a short roundup
Blogs on the left seem to be taking the Reuters line – this NIE is Gospel – unsurprisingly
Five Questions Concerning the Latest NIE