Combs Spouts Off

"It's my opinion and it's very true."

Posts Tagged ‘foreign policy’

The award for best Bergdahl commentary goes to…

Posted by Richard on June 5, 2014

MAD Magazine for “Barack Obama’s Unfortunate New Movie”! Priceless:

What, Me Worry?

HT: Reason Hit & Run Blog

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Palin’s prescience

Posted by Richard on March 1, 2014

During the 2008 campaign, Sarah Palin predicted that if the weak and feckless Sen. Obama were elected President, Vladimir Putin might invade Ukraine. She was laughed at by foreign policy experts.

Palin said then:

After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.

For those comments, she was mocked by the high-brow Foreign Policy magazine and its editor Blake Hounshell, who now is one of the editors of Politico magazine.

Hounshell wrote then that Palin’s comments were “strange” and “this is an extremely far-fetched scenario.”

“And given how Russia has been able to unsettle Ukraine’s pro-Western government without firing a shot, I don’t see why violence would be necessary to bring Kiev to heel,” Hounshell dismissively wrote.

Oops. Palin is now having the last laugh. Hounshell has acknowledged her prescience:

I didn’t see anything resembling an apology, however, although Moe Lane for one suggested it was due:

I’m reminded of how the left mocked Palin for telling Tea Party groups to “party like it’s 1773” — blissfully unaware that that was the year of the Boston Tea Party. When you repeatedly make fun of someone for being a stupid yahoo, and they’re repeatedly proven wiser and more knowledgeable than you, shouldn’t you feel some embarrassment and shame?

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Obama administration supporting Islamists in the Middle East

Posted by Richard on February 21, 2012

The Investigative Project on Terrorism has posted a disturbing essay by Dr. Essam Abdallah, an Egyptian liberal intellectual and college professor, outlining how the Islamist lobby in the U.S., led by the Muslim Brotherhood front group CAIR, has shaped the Obama administration’s policies regarding the Arab Spring (emphasis added):

The most dramatic oppression of the region’s civil societies and the Arab Spring is not by means of weapons, or in the Middle East. It is not led by Gaddafi, Mubarak, Bin Ali, Saleh, or Assad. It is led by the powerful Islamist lobbies in Washington DC. People may find my words curious if not provocative. But my arguments are sharp and well understood by many Arab and middle eastern liberals and freedom fighters. Indeed, we in the region, who are struggling for real democracy, not for the one time election type of democracy have been asking ourselves since January 2011 as the winds of Arab spring started blowing, why isn’t the West in general and the United States Administration in particular clearly and forcefully supporting our civil societies and particularly the secular democrats of the region? Why were the bureaucracies in Washington and in Brussels partnering with Islamists in the region and not with their natural allies the democracy promoting political forces?

Months into the Arab Spring, we realized that the Western powers, and the Obama Administration have put their support behind the new authoritarians, those who are claiming they will be brought to power via the votes of the people. Well, it is not quite so.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Nahda of Tunisia, the Justice Party of Morocco and the Islamist militias in Libya’s Transitional National Council have been systematically supported by Washington at the expense of real liberal and secular forces. We saw day by day how the White House guided carefully the statements and the actions of the US and the State Department followed through to give all the chances to the Islamists and almost no chances to the secular and revolutionary youth. We will come back to detail these diplomatic and financial maneuvers which are giving victory to the fundamentalists while the seculars and progressives are going to be smashed by the forthcoming regimes.

Read the whole thing.

To understand the disgusting behavior with regard to the Arab Spring by the Obama administration (and the left in general), take note of three things.

First, the old saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Second, Barack Obama’s 2001 remarks dissing the U.S. Constitution (emphasis added):

But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendancy to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.

Third, Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg’s recent advice to Egypt not to emulate the U.S. Constitution (and its “negative liberties”), but instead to emulate constitutions that are modeled after the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights — a collection of “positive rights” (to a decent job, a nice place to live, plenty of food, free health care, etc.) creating a powerful government capable of redistributing anything and everything “equitably.”

The enemies of the Obama administration and leftists in general are those who embrace Lockean “negative rights,” individualism, limited government, and free markets.

The enemies of the Islamofascists in the Middle East are those who embrace Lockean “negative rights,” individualism, limited government, and free markets.

Thus the enemies of the Obama administration and leftists in general are also the enemies of the Islamofascists. Ipso facto, the Islamofascists are friends of the Obama administration and the left in general.

Politically, the Islamofascists are both authoritarians and egalitarians. Members of the Obama administration and leftists in general are both authoritarians and egalitarians. Authoritarians and egalitarians are inevitably drawn to each other. This is not news to anyone who’s read David Horowitz’s Unholy Alliance.

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Sharansky hopeful about Egypt

Posted by Richard on February 5, 2011

The Wall Street Journal's David Feith interviewed Natan Sharansky about recent events in Egypt and other Arab dictatorships, and found him neither as surprised nor as pessimistic as most of the so-called experts:

"The reason people are going to the streets and making revolution is their desire not to live in a fear society," Mr. Sharansky says. In his taxonomy, the world is divided between "fear societies" and "free societies," with the difference between them determinable by what he calls a "town square test": Are the people in a given society free to stand in their town square and express their opinions without fear of arrest or physical harm? The answer in Tunisia and Egypt, of course, has long been "no"—as it was in the Soviet bloc countries that faced popular revolutions in 1989.

This idea is the animating feature of a worldview that bucks much conventional wisdom. Uprisings like Tunisia's and Egypt's, he says, make "specialists—Sovietologists, Arabists—say 'Who could have thought only two weeks ago that this will happen?'" But "look at what Middle Eastern democratic dissidents were saying for all these years about the weakness of these regimes from the inside," and you won't be surprised when they topple, he says.

Sharansky doesn't buy the idea that propping up tyrants like Mubarak is the only way to prevent Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood from taking over. He argues that the longer Mubark remains in power, the more the Brotherhood becomes the only strong, well-organized opposition poised to take over. Better that the dictator should go now, with the streets largely filled with people yearning for freedom and democracy, not radical Islamists.

Sharansky wants the US to adopt a policy of "linkage," as it did with the Soviet Union in 1974:

If he were a U.S. senator, Mr. Sharansky says, he would immediately introduce a law to continue support to Egypt on condition that "20% of all this money goes to strengthening and developing democratic institutions. And the money cannot be controlled by the Egyptian government." Ideally his measure would kick in as soon as possible, so that it can affect the incentives of any Egyptian transitional government established to rule until September, when a presidential election is scheduled.

Sharansky thinks President Obama's response on Egypt is improving daily and is certainly much better than his response to the 2009 Iranian revolution: 

… By his reckoning, the Obama administration's position during the recent Iranian protests was "maybe one of the biggest betrayals of people's freedom in modern history. . . . At the moment when millions were deciding whether to go to the barricades, the leader of the free world said 'For us, the most important thing is engagement with the regime, so we don't want a change of regime.' Compared to this, there is very big progress [today]."

Inconsistency is par for the course in this field. "From time to time," Mr. Sharansky says of the George W. Bush administration, "America was giving lectures about democracy." Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave a strong address in Cairo in 2005. And in 2002, by threatening to withhold $130 million in aid to Egypt, the administration successfully pressured Mr. Mubarak to release the sociologist and democracy activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim from prison. In their final years, however, administration officials reverted to bureaucratic form and relaxed their pressure drastically.

Condoleezza RiceEarlier this week, I recalled Condi's marvelous 2005 speech in Cairo and some of Bush's finest moments speaking about "the transformational power of liberty." But by 2006, with things going badly in Iraq and his popularity tanking, Bush pretty much gave up on the one thing he got right

President Obama relaxed it even further, Mr. Sharansky notes, inserting only vague language about democracy into his June 2009 address in Cairo. "There was no mention at all that at that  moment democratic dissidents were imprisoned, that Mubarak had put in prison the leading [opposition] candidate in the past election," Ayman Nour.

Much needs to change in Egypt, Sharansky concedes, before it can become a free society, but he believes those changes can and must begin now: 

Even if the U.S. embraces linkage, Egypt's September election could be quite problematic. "Only when the basic institutions that protect a free society are firmly in place—such as a free press, the rule of law, independent courts, political parties—can free elections be held," Mr. Sharansky wrote in "The Case for Democracy." In Egypt, those "free, developed institutions," he tells me, "will not be developed by September."

What can develop over the next eight months, Mr. Sharansky says, is a U.S. policy making clear that "whoever is elected cannot continue to survive—he cannot continue to rely on the assistance of the free world in defense, economics, anything—if democratic reforms are not continued and if democratic institutions are not built." After several years of such democracy-building, he says, when dissidents like Mr. Ibrahim enjoy the ability to build institutions like trade unions and women's organizations, "then in a few years you'll have a different country, and you can have really free elections."

Read the whole thing. Then let your congresscritters know that you support Sharansky's proposal for aid linkage. 

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Less respected?

Posted by Richard on March 9, 2010

It's not just the President's attempted government takeover of the health care industry that the American public rejects by ever-increasing margins. According to a new poll (sponsored by leftist organizations who no doubt hoped for an opposite result), Americans also reject Obama's foreign policy and national security competence:

A majority of Americans say the United States is less respected in the world than it was two years ago and think President Obama and other Democrats fall short of Republicans on the issue of national security, a new poll finds.

The Democracy Corps-Third Way survey released Monday finds that by a 10-point margin — 51 percent to 41 percent — Americans think the standing of the U.S. dropped during the first 13 months of Mr. Obama's presidency.

"This is surprising, given the global acclaim and Nobel peace prize that flowed to the new president after he took office," said pollsters for the liberal-leaning organizations.

On the national security front, a massive gap has emerged, with 50 percent of likely voters saying Republicans would likely do a better job than Democrats, a 14-point swing since May. Thirty-three percent favored Democrats.

"The erosion since May is especially strong among women, and among independents, who now favor Republicans on this question by a 56 to 20 percent margin," the pollsters said in their findings.

Mind you, I realize that just because Americans believe we're less respected in the world doesn't make it true (although there's been ample evidence in the past year that in fact it is; weakness, as usual, has led to contempt). But what ought to matter to Democrats is that those Americans who believe we're less respected are eligible to vote in American elections — the Euroweenies who may feel differently aren't. 

If independents lean 56-20 Republican on national security, this administration is in serious trouble, and every attempted attack on this country, whether successful or thwarted, will only reinforce their problem. Because with that much doubt about their competence on this issue, even the thwarting of an attack will be dismissed by many as just dumb luck (like the Christmas underwear bomber), not competence.

(HT: Instapundit)

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Lieberman endorsing McCain

Posted by Richard on December 16, 2007

Senator Joe Lieberman is going to endorse Senator John McCain for President on Monday:

It may seem a long journey, emotionally and politically, from being the Democratic Party's vice presidential nominee in 2000, to endorsing a conservative Republican for president, less than eight years later — an endorsement scheduled for Monday morning in Hillsborough, N.H.

A top Lieberman aide says the senator disagrees with McCain on many domestic matters, including abortion and affirmative action, but "on the key issue, the central issue of being commander in chief, and leading the war against Islamic extremists, they see eye to eye." …

Last month, at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, Lieberman eviscerated Democrats on foreign policy. "For many Democrats, the guiding conviction in foreign policy isn't pacifism or isolationism — it is distrust and disdain of Republicans, in general, and President Bush, in particular," he said.

"In this regard, the Democratic foreign policy worldview has become defined by the same reflexive, blind opposition to the president that defined Republicans in the 1990s — even when it means repudiating the very principles and policies that Democrats, as a party, have stood for, at our best and strongest."

"There is something profoundly wrong, something that should trouble all of us, when we have elected Democratic officials who seem more worried about how the Bush administration might respond to Iran's murder of our troops, than about the fact that Iran is murdering our troops," Lieberman said.

"There is, likewise, something profoundly wrong when we see candidates who are willing to pander to this politically paranoid, hyper-partisan, sentiment in the Democratic base, even if it sends a message of weakness and division to the Iranian regime."

I'm no fan of John McCain (McCain-Feingold, AKA the Incumbent Protection Act, alone is enough to sour me on him), but I think this is a good thing. I'm glad that there's at least one Democrat who understands the threat of Islamofascism and is willing to put principle above party.

And I think Lieberman's analysis of what's driving the Democrats is spot on. You go, Joe! You're not the only one who finds himself with strange bedfellows these days. The differences between Lieberman and McCain, or between me and Rudy Giuliani or Fred Thompson, are rather trivial compared to the differences between all of us and those who want to impose a 7th-century theocracy on the whole planet. 

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Low confidence

Posted by Richard on December 5, 2007

Democrats and their mouthpieces in the media are having a great time touting the new National Intelligence Estimate's claim that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003. This supposedly proves that the Bush administration lied about Iran just like they lied about Iraq, or something like that.

To some people, an intelligence community report that contradicts their beliefs must be "politicized," while one that confirms their beliefs is automatically judged "honest and objective." Never mind that they have no evidence for (or against) either conclusion.

Those of you inclined to accept the NIE's conclusions might want to pause a moment to consider this incongruous fact — the International Atomic Energy Agency has serious doubts (emphasis added):

"To be frank, we are more skeptical," a senior official close to the agency said. "We don't buy the American analysis 100 percent. We are not that generous with Iran."

The official called the American assertion that Iran had "halted" its weapons program in 2003 "somewhat surprising."

That the nuclear watchdog agency based in Vienna is sounding a somewhat tougher line than the Bush administration is surprising, given that the administration has long criticized it for not pressuring Iran hard enough to curb its nuclear program.

But the American finding has so unsettled governments, agencies and officials dealing with Iran that it has suddenly upended commonly held assumptions.

There is relief, as one senior French official put it, that "the war option is off the table." There is also criticism and even anger in some quarters that the American intelligence assessment may be too soft on Iran.

The Wall Street Journal found the new NIE rather unconvincing (emphasis added):

For years, senior Administration officials, including Condoleezza Rice, have stressed to us how little the government knows about what goes on inside Iran. In 2005, the bipartisan Robb-Silberman report underscored that "Across the board, the Intelligence Community knows disturbingly little about the nuclear programs of many of the world's most dangerous actors." And as our liberal friends used to remind us, you can never trust the CIA. (Only later did they figure out the agency was usually on their side.)

As recently as 2005, the consensus estimate of our spooks was that "Iran currently is determined to develop nuclear weapons" and do so "despite its international obligations and international pressure." This was a "high confidence" judgment. The new NIE says Iran abandoned its nuclear program in 2003 "in response to increasing international scrutiny." This too is a "high confidence" conclusion. One of the two conclusions is wrong, and casts considerable doubt on the entire process by which these "estimates"–the consensus of 16 intelligence bureaucracies–are conducted and accorded gospel status.

Actually, it's possible — perhaps even likely — that both conclusions are wrong. Or at least hopelessly out of date. If the Iranians did suspend their nuclear weapons program in 2003, and it took "our spooks" four years to figure that out, maybe they started the program back up again in 2005 or 2006, but those same spooks won't realize it for another two or three years.

Our own "confidence" is not heightened by the fact that the NIE's main authors include three former State Department officials with previous reputations as "hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials," according to an intelligence source. They are Tom Fingar, formerly of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research; Vann Van Diepen, the National Intelligence Officer for WMD; and Kenneth Brill, the former U.S. Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

No less odd is the NIE's conclusion that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003 in response to "international pressure." The only serious pressure we can recall from that year was the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Yep — if you buy the NIE assessment, then shouldn't you acknowledge that Operation Iraqi Freedom may have persuaded not just one country to end its nuclear weapons program (Libya), but two?

But that's assuming you buy the NIE assessment. Regarding that, Paul Mirengoff at Power Line said it best (emphasis added):

In the end, we have no way to assess why the intelligence community flipped from saying with high confidence in 2005 that Iran is currently determined to develop nuclear weapons, to saying now with high confidence that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. The only thing we can say with high confidence is that our intelligence community's assessments do not deserve our high confidence. 

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Working vacation

Posted by Richard on September 5, 2007

On Labor Day, President Bush paid a surprise visit to Iraq. Not just any part of Iraq, but Anbar province, which a few months ago, critics of the war held up as the poster child of U.S. failure in Iraq. Now it's safe enough for a presidential visit, complete with a meeting with local Sunni tribal leaders.

I first learned of the visit when I heard an NBC reporterette describing it as a "working vacation." A friend of mine was taken aback, and noted that Bush's trip to Iraq and then to Australia for an APAC summit is more properly described as a "business trip." There is nothing about it that approximates a "vacation."

Of course, the mainstream media routinely describe every visit to the Crawford ranch as a "vacation," regardless of what he does while there, so calling this business trip a "working vacation" is actually a concession of sorts. At least they used the adjective "working."

Bush was joined by Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno, Commanding General, Multi-National Corps, General David Petraeus, Commander, Multi-National Force Iraq, Admiral William Fallon, Commander US Central Command, General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Secretary State Condoleezza Rice. Wow.

Since what I've stated above plus a 10-second sound bite is probably all that (or more than) you've learned from the mainstream media, I thought I'd provide the text of his address to the troops (at least, most of it), from the White House site: 

As you know, today is Labor Day back home — (hooah) — so I thought I'd come by to thank you for all your hard work. (Hooah.) Every day — every day — you show bravery under incredibly difficult circumstances. Every day you're doing work on the sands of Anbar that is making it safer in the streets of America. And every day the United States of America is grateful for what you're doing. I want you to tell your families the Commander-in-Chief stopped by to say hello, and he said, I'm incredibly proud to be the Commander-in-Chief of such a great group of men and women. (Applause.)

I'm keeping pretty good company, as you can see. I brought out the A Team so they could be with the folks who are making a significant difference in this war against these radicals and extremists. In Anbar you're seeing firsthand the dramatic differences that can come when the Iraqis are more secure. In other words, you're seeing success.

You see Sunnis who once fought side by side with al Qaeda against coalition troops now fighting side by side with coalition troops against al Qaeda. Anbar is a huge province. It was once written off as lost. It is now one of the safest places in Iraq. (Hooah.) …

The surge of operations that began in June is improving security throughout Iraq. The military successes are paving the way for the political reconciliation and economic progress the Iraqis need to transform their country. When Iraqis feel safe in their own homes and neighborhoods, they can focus their efforts on building a stable, civil society with functioning government structures at the local and provincial and national levels. …

Earlier today I met with some of the tribal sheiks here in Anbar. It was a really interesting meeting. And at the table were the leaders of the central government, as well. They told me that the kind of bottom-up progress that your efforts are bringing to Anbar is vital to the success and stability of a free Iraq. See, Iraqis need this stability to build a more peaceful future. And America needs this stability to prevent the chaos that allows the terrorists to set up bases from which they can plot and plan attacks on our homeland.

The very people that you helped the Iraqis defeat in Anbar swore allegiance to the man that ordered the attack on the United States of America. What happens here in Anbar matters to the security of the United States.

And so I thank you for your sacrifice. I thank you for volunteering in the face of danger. I thank you for your courage and your bravery. Every day you are successful here in Iraq draws nearer to the day when America can begin calling you and your fellow servicemen and women home.

But I want to tell you this about the decision — about my decision about troop levels. Those decisions will be based on a calm assessment by our military commanders on the conditions on the ground — not a nervous reaction by Washington politicians to poll results in the media. (Hooah.) In other words, when we begin to draw down troops from Iraq, it will be from a position of strength and success, not from a position of fear and failure. To do otherwise would embolden our enemies and make it more likely that they would attack us at home. If we let our enemies back us out of Iraq, we will more likely face them in America. If we don't want to hear their footsteps back home, we have to keep them on their heels over here. And that's exactly what you're doing, and America is safer for it.

In Anbar you're doing this hard work every day. We've all come to say thank you. We've come to tell you the American people are standing with you. They're grateful for your sacrifice. As Commander-in-Chief, I'm proud to be in your presence on this Labor Day. I ask for God's blessings on you and your family, and may God continue to bless America. Thank you. (Applause.)

In case the "hooah" and "applause" notations in the transcript above don't make it clear, the troops loved him. And if you routinely rely on the mainstream media for your news about what's happening in Iraq, this may be news to you, too: Troops in Iraq exceeded their reenlistment goals for the year last month.

Screw Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. The people who know best what's happening on the ground and how important it is are backing this effort in the most important way possible — they're committing their lives and their honor. Dammit, treat their commitment with respect.

 

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Ron Paul doesn’t speak for all of us

Posted by Richard on July 18, 2007

A great big thanks to Randy Barnett for informing the readers of the Wall Street Journal (and OpinionJournal.com) that not all libertarians subscribe to a "blame America first" foreign and national security policy virtually indistinguishable from that of Dennis Kucinich. The war against Islamofascism is, as Barnett spelled out quite even-handedly, a subject about which libertarians disagree:

Many libertarians, and perhaps most libertarian intellectuals, opposed the war in Iraq even before its inception. They believed Saddam's regime neither directly threatened the U.S. nor harbored or supported the terrorist network responsible for Sept. 11. They also feared the risk of harmful, unintended consequences. …

Other libertarians, however, supported the war in Iraq because they viewed it as part of a larger war of self-defense against Islamic jihadists who were organizationally independent of any government. They viewed radical Islamic fundamentalism as resulting in part from the corrupt dictatorial regimes that inhabit the Middle East, which have effectively repressed indigenous democratic reformers. Although opposed to nation building generally, these libertarians believed that a strategy of fomenting democratic regimes in the Middle East, as was done in Germany and Japan after World War II, might well be the best way to take the fight to the enemy rather than solely trying to ward off the next attack.

Naturally, the libertarians who supported the war in Iraq are disappointed, though hardly shocked, that it was so badly executed. …

Still, there are those pro-invasion libertarians who are now following the progress of Operations Phantom Thunder and Arrowhead Ripper. … They hope this success will enable American soldiers to leave Iraq even before they leave Europe and Korea, and regain the early momentum that led, for example, to Libya's abandonment of its nuclear weapons program.

These libertarians are still rooting for success in Iraq because it would make Americans more safe, while defeat would greatly undermine the fight against those who declared war on the U.S. They are concerned that Americans may get the misleading impression that all libertarians oppose the Iraq war–as Ron Paul does–and even that libertarianism itself dictates opposition to this war. It would be a shame if this misinterpretation inhibited a wider acceptance of the libertarian principles that would promote the general welfare of the American people.

What he said.  

 

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Iraq and Darfur

Posted by Richard on May 23, 2007

Former Democratic Senator and 9/11 Commission member Bob Kerrey took his fellow liberals to task in The Wall Street Journal today. Kerrey made two points: first, that Iraq "is central to the fight against Islamic radicalism"; and second, that the Democratic critics of our Iraq policy are at least inconsistent, if not downright hypocritical:

No matter how incompetent the Bush administration and no matter how poorly they chose their words to describe themselves and their political opponents, Iraq was a larger national security risk after Sept. 11 than it was before. And no matter how much we might want to turn the clock back and either avoid the invasion itself or the blunders that followed, we cannot. The war to overthrow Saddam Hussein is over. What remains is a war to overthrow the government of Iraq.

… 

The critics who bother me the most are those who ordinarily would not be on the side of supporting dictatorships, who are arguing today that only military intervention can prevent the genocide of Darfur, or who argued yesterday for military intervention in Bosnia, Somalia and Rwanda to ease the sectarian violence that was tearing those places apart.

Suppose we had not invaded Iraq and Hussein had been overthrown by Shiite and Kurdish insurgents. Suppose al Qaeda then undermined their new democracy and inflamed sectarian tensions to the same level of violence we are seeing today. Wouldn't you expect the same people who are urging a unilateral and immediate withdrawal to be urging military intervention to end this carnage? I would.

As if on cue, Senator Joe Biden today renewed his call for the United States to invade Sudan. Biden's call for the United States to "cowboy up" and use military force unilaterally was denounced by the Sudanese ambassador to the U.N., thus deepening the irony: Biden opposes having U.S. troops in a country whose democratically-elected government wants us there (Iraq), but he's eager to "redeploy" those troops into Sudan over the strenuous objections of its (admittedly undemocratic) government.

I believe I can clear up the mystery for Bob Kerrey and anyone else who is puzzled by the inconsistency of Biden, most Democrats, and most of the American left in general. Unlike, say, Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan, these people aren't opposed in principle to military intervention in foreign countries. They're only opposed to military intervention that might possibly be in America's self-interest.

And of course, they can't abide anything supported by Chimpy McHalliburton Bushitler.

UPDATE: Bob Krumm, commenting on Sen. Kerrey's article, suggested that if the Democrats had nominated Kerrey instead of Kerry in 2004, they might control the White House today. I suspect he's right. He has some other interesting observations, so check it out.

Later, Krumm sarcastically explained the lack of media coverage Kerrey's gotten:

Have you noticed that whenever a Republican of some national prominence says anything negative about America's Iraq policy, that it's greeted with rapt media attention? (Think Chuck Hagel)

This morning, however, former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey says that the war in Iraq is central to the war against Islamic terrorism, and the media apparently responds with deafening silence.

Instead of jumping to the conclusion that the differing treatments are indicative of media bias, might it be dog bites man? Perhaps the existence of pro-war Democrats is more common than anti-war Republicans, and that's why it's not news.

That must be it, Bob. After all, it can't be media bias — all the big media journalists have assured us that they're objective reporters with no political biases whatsoever.

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The enemy

Posted by Richard on April 15, 2007

Joseph Heller is best known for his marvelous novel, Catch-22, which was immensely popular with anti-war types in the 60s and 70s, and is undoubtedly still much-beloved by leftists, at least those of my generation. I recently encountered a great quote from Catch-22: "The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on."

This quote triggered an ironic thought: If Heller's point is valid, one can argue that Nancy Pelosi and her leftist anti-war friends are no longer the loyal opposition, they are now the enemy.

If you're inclined to agree, you might want to join the Center for Individual Freedom in urging the President and the Republican leadership to "get some back-bone" and strongly oppose Pelosi's pursuit of her "alternate" (Chamberlainesque) foreign policy.

Thinking about Catch-22 made me think of an anti-war slogan popular in the 1960s: "What if they gave a war and nobody came?" Today, we need to ask a slightly different question: What if they gave a war and only one side showed up?

The anti-war left is growing louder and completely dominates the Democratic Party. Many short-attention-span Americans are weary of Iraq in particular and the "War on Terror" in general (partly because it was unfortunately named and inadequately explained). Most of the Republican leadership either can't clearly articulate the danger we face and the need to fight, or they're afraid to for pragmatic reasons, or they've become discouraged and given up.

So here's where things stand: A ruthless and growing global Islamofascist movement is waging war against every culture, society, and religion different from itself, and it vows not to stop until all the world has been forced to submit to its 7th-century rule. Only the United States and a handful of allies have recognized the global nature of this conflict and the seriousness of the threat. Now, it seems that our will is failing, and more and more of us are ready to join the Europeans in pretending there is no threat, or believing that some accommodation with the enemy is possible, or insisting that it's all about a handful of fighters in the mountains of Afghanistan and nothing else.

What happens when one side in a war decides to stop fighting, but the other side continues?

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About Iran’s latest hostages

Posted by Richard on April 2, 2007

Does anybody do this sort of thing better than Scrappleface? I don't think so:

(2007-04-01) — In a fresh, un-coerced video communiqué released today by the Iranian government, 15 British sailors and marines held captive for eight days, said they would seek asylum in Iran, “the only country that really seems to want us.”

The hostages said they have already begun the paperwork to become Iranian citizens, and have started classes to prepare them for conversion to Islam.

“Whatever else you might think about President Ahmadinejad,” said one British sailor under no duress, “at least he took risks to get us, and genuinely desires to keep us in his country; which is more than we can say for Prime Minister [Tony] Blair."

On a more serious note, here's Newt Gingrich's brilliantly simple suggestion for an effective response to the hostage-taking:

 

Mark Steyn heaped appropriate scorn on the British (and European, and American) alternative plan:

The British ambassador to the U.N. had wanted the Security Council to pass a resolution "deploring" Iran's conduct. But the Russians objected to all this hotheaded inflammatory lingo about "deploring," and so the Security Council instead expressed its "grave concern" about the situation. That and $4.95 will get you a decaf latte. Ask the folks in Darfur what they've got to show for years of the U.N.'s "grave concerns" — heavy on the graves, less so on the concern.

The U.N. will do nothing for men seized on a U.N.-sanctioned mission. The European Union will do nothing for its "European citizens." But if liberal transnationalism is a post-modern joke, it's not the only school of transnationalism out there. Iran's Islamic Revolution has been explicitly extraterritorial since the beginning: It has created and funded murderous proxies in Hezbollah, Hamas and both Shia and Sunni factions of the Iraq "insurgency." It has spent a fortune in the stans of Central Asia radicalizing previously somnolent Muslim populations. When Ayatollah Khomeini announced the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, it was not Iranians but British, Indian, Turkish, European, Asian and American Muslims who called for his death, firebombed bookstores, shot his publisher, fatally stabbed his translator and murdered anybody who got in their way.

So we live today in a world of one-way sovereignty: American, British and Iraqi forces in Iraq respect the Syrian and Iranian borders; the Syrians and Iranians do not respect the Iraqi border. Patrolling the Shatt al-Arab at a time of war, the Royal Navy operates under rules of engagement designed by distant fainthearts with an eye to the polite fictions of "international law": If you're in a "warship," you can't wage war. If you're in a "destroyer," don't destroy anything. If you're in a "frigate," you're frigging done for.

Needless to say, it's Mark Steyn, so you should read the whole thing.

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It’s not just a Republican war

Posted by Richard on March 28, 2007

At the Hugh Hewitt blog, Dean Barnett went to great pains to explain that MyDD is a responsible liberal blog, not a bunch of "lunatics and sociopaths," and to point out that MyDD is "influential far beyond its rather limited readership numbers." Barnett did so in order to put Ian Welsh's post into perspective.

Welsh chastised Sen. Hillary Clinton for being "pro-war" and for wanting "permanent bases" in Iraq "just as badly as the NeoCons." Barnett was struck by Welsh's reasoning:

Hillary’s purported policy prescriptions strike him as dangerously misguided, but listen why:

“Hillary's a pro-war candidate. And if Democrats nominate her, they will be nominating a pro-war candidate. And then the war will be a fully American war, not just a Republican one.

The last part of that statement, the part I bolded and italicized, is a rather remarkable admission. It’s even more amazing that Welsh makes that comment so casually, apparently unaware of its larger implications.

Almost certainly unwittingly, Welsh has revealed the moral atrophy that so afflicts the left. If you’ve gotten the sense that parts of the left and the Democratic Party are rooting against the war effort, now you know why. In their eyes, it’s not an American war; it’s a Republican one. And since it’s solely a Republican struggle, why not root against it? After all, if it goes poorly, the Democratic Party will surely prosper as a result.

Once again, the MyDD site is nothing like the Huffington Post. It offers mainstream liberal thought, not the addled barking of alienated misfits. And yet the fact that our men and women fighting in Iraq are Americans first, not Republicans or Democrats, seems to be completely beyond their comprehension.

All I can say is, gosh, Dean, does this really surprise you?? It doesn't surprise me at all. It seems to me that even the semi-rational (as opposed to moonbat) elements of the left have believed for some time that (1) 9/11 was a one-time incident, an aberration, (2) we're at war only because the Bush administration chooses to be at war, not because there is an organized enemy waging war against us, and therefore (3) if we simply withdraw our troops from Iraq, we'll no longer be at war.

In my humble opinion, these people are delusional and this is lunacy. But how do we prove that without doing irreparable harm to the cause of freedom and democracy in the Middle East and to our own security?

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A World Without America

Posted by Richard on February 22, 2007

Just in case you haven’t seen or heard the British TV ad, "A World Without America," I’ve embedded it below. Please watch. The ad is sponsored by the British politics TV web site, 18DoughtyStreet.com ("Politics for Adults"), and its project, BritainAndAmerica.com, which said this about the ad:

It is impossible to make detailed arguments inside two minutes but the advert points to the many political, economic and technological benefits of an outward-looking America. This website is a passionate believer in the special transatlantic relationship and will continue to fill these pages with arguments against the anti-Americanism that is sweeping too much of Europe.

Bravo.
 

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Hitchens on Steyn

Posted by Richard on February 12, 2007

In the new issue of City Journal, Christopher Hitchens reviewed Mark Steyn’s new book, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, and the review really is a must read. I haven’t read Steyn’s book yet, but I’ve heard good things about it. Hitchens approves of it ("a welcome wake-up call"), but is far from uncritical and goes well beyond just reviewing. He points out the book’s flaws, bolsters its weaknesses, and offers some policy recommendations of his own.

This is not to deny Steyn’s salient point that demography and cultural masochism, especially in combination, are handing a bloodless victory to the forces of Islamization. His gift for the illustrative anecdote and the revealing quotation is evident, and if more people have woken up to the Islamist menace since he began writing about it, then the credit is partly his. Muslims in one part of England demand the demolition of an ancient statue of a wild boar, and in another part of England make plots to blow up airports, buses, and subway trains. The two threats are not identical. But they are connected, and Steyn attempts to tease out the filiations with the saving tactic of wit.

I still think—or should I say hope?—that the sheer operatic insanity of September 11 set back the Islamist project of a “soft” conquest of host countries, Muslim countries included. Up until 9/11, the Talibanization of Pakistan—including the placement of al-Qaida sympathizers within its nuclear program—proceeded fairly smoothly. Official Pakistani support for Muslim gangsters operating in Afghanistan, Kashmir, and India went relatively unpunished. Saudi funds discreetly advanced the Wahhabist program, through madrassa-building and a network of Islamic banking, across the globe. In the West, Muslim demands for greater recognition and special treatment had become an accepted part of the politically correct agenda. Some denounced me as cynical for saying at the time that Osama bin Laden had done us a favor by disclosing the nature and urgency of the Islamist threat, but I still think I was right. …

Of course, these have not been the only consequences of September 11 and its aftermath. Islamist suicide-terrorism has mutated into new shapes and adopted fresh grievances as a result of the mobilization against it. Liberalism has found even more convoluted means of blaming itself for the attack upon it. But at least the long period of somnambulism is over, and the opportunity now exists for antibodies to form against the infection.

Hitchens doesn’t care much for the "somewhat slapdash" 10-point program with which Steyn ends his book. Instead, Hitchens offers his own eight steps to counter Islamism, and I urge you to read and think about them. In particular, his opening point regarding "one-way multiculturalism" and "creeping Islamism" proposes the long-needed showing of some cultural backbone that’s essential to the moral and intellectual defense of Western Civilization.

Hitchens’ recommendations regarding India — "the other great multiethnic democracy under attack from Muslim fascism" — and the West African states threatened by the jihadists make a lot of sense to me, too. And I’d never even thought about the seismological implications of Iran’s nuclear program. Go read the whole thing.
 

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