Prev | List | Random | Next
“Madam Speaker, when was the last time someone asked you for $700 billion?
“It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush Administration’s failed economic policies—policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system.
Let's review this video:
What Caused Our Economic Crisis?
This potent and highly popular Internet video “Burning Down the House” – which traces responsibility for the housing/credit crisis right back to liberal Democrats – was yanked from YouTube in recent days due to a music copyright claim. It now has been re-edited to avoid that problem, and, for the moment at least, it is back.
Well Nancy , looks as if the Bush Administration’s failed economic policies wasn't the only problem.
And look at this.
Shocking Video Unearthed Democrats in their own words Covering up the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Scam that caused our Economic Crisis
Seems clear that our do nothing congress, did what they do best, nothing. Who's the failure?
This should be all over the msm airwaves, will they ignore this? I bet'cha a nickel.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST? For the press? Ridiculous. "Shouldn't the MSM look closer at the conflicts of interest in their own newsrooms? I'm not talking liberal bias, but issues like David Gregory's marriage to a senior executive at Fannie and Andrea Mitchell's marriage to Alan Greenspan."
Hmmm, if Mr. Obama becomes president, this could be an on going problem since he seems to be at the root of it.
Here's to better years.
There should be a name for that moment in an Iraq tour that I'm guessing he just reached or recently passed. Maybe it's "gut check".
It happens to us all.
Washington Post debate fact checker Glenn Kessler on another point made by McCain:
John McCain correctly asserted that in 2003 he began to question the Iraq war strategy, which is correct. In November 2003, he criticized the Bush administration's conduct of the Iraq war, saying the United States should send at least 15,000 more troops or risk "the most serious American defeat on the global stage since Vietnam."
But he has also made later, more rosy pronouncements. After visiting the Shorja market in Baghdad in April 2007, where he was protected by more than 100 soldiers, McCain said, "Things are getting better in Iraq, and I am pleased with the progress that has been made." Privately, according to a recent book by Bob Woodward, he was more critical, telling Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, "We may be about to lose the second war in my lifetime."
So... before the extra troops went in McCain said we needed more troops. Then, as they started to arrive, he said "things are getting better" and "we may be about to lose." I'm not sure what Glenn Kessler's point is here - perhaps it's that in his opinion some of McCain's comments on Iraq have been "rosier" than others. But unless you're the sort of imaginary loon who feels that "in war, everything is rosy" or the sort of real loon who believes that such imaginary people exist (and that John McCain is one of them) that variability (or "honesty" as I call it) won't get you very excited.
I suppose if one feels a need one can apply some sort of subjective "rosiness scale" to each of those comments - but I'd say an "accuracy" scale might be more useful. On that scale I'd say hindsight reveals the "things are getting better" comment as most accurate (I'd even call it "correct" or "right"), the 2003 call for more troops as "debatable"(it worked in 2007, but who can really say with certainty what would have happened in '03 - at best, the answer is hypothetical), and the "we may be about to lose" speculation as least accurate - in fact without the "may" it would be flat out wrong. I'm glad the "rosiest" comment was also the most accurate - a position I hope most Americans share. (I simply can't imagine what sort of person wouldn't.)
But on the surface, are the statements inconsistent? Clearly the oddity is the "about to lose" quote - especially coming within days of the "better" statement. So let's turn to the cited source - Woodward's The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008. for an answer. The passage including the full comment in context begins on page 344, and follows a description of McCain's April, 2007 visit to Baghdad:
At a press conference following his hour-long tour, McCain said that the American public was not receiving "a full picture" of the improvements in security. "Things are getting better in Iraq, and I am pleased with the progress that has been made."I'll refrain from comment on whether that's a fair treatment of State or not - that isn't the point of this post, but note that Secretary Rice did counter that - details are in the book. But clearly McCain was noting improvement (not victory) in Baghdad, crediting the military surge for that, and warning State that it would all be wasted if they didn't do their part. That's in line with the bigger strategy of the surge - the military couldn't do it all - as described by President Bush and General Petraeus from the start (and co opted by the opposition as their own exclusive policy point immediately thereafter) and it seems to me to be completely appropriate (important, even) for a senator returning from Iraq to bring those concerns to the attention of the Secretary of State.
Later, McCain was widely criticized for making such a judgment after touring a market fortified with blast walls and cement barriers, surrounded by a virtual cocoon of American security. One U.S. military official told The Washington Post that McCain's diagnosis of Baghdad security was "a bit of hyperbole."
Condi Rice appreciated McCain's positive comments. She invited him for for a private visit at the State Department at 08:30 A.M., on April 12. McCain seemed tense when he arrived. Rice had expected him to reiterate his optimism, but after some pleasantries, he let loose.
"We may be about to lose the second war in my lifetime," said the man who had been held and tortured for five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. The senator launched into a full-throated critique of the State Department's role in Iraq. You guys aren't fully in this, he said. You don't act like we're really at war. The civilian side is not doing it's part. Rice listened calmly. His criticisms echoed a lot of State Department bashing.
But again, what the hell is the point of the "fact check"?All done!
I wish this wasn't a story - but it is.
Mrs. Jopek was an Obama supporter (at least in March of this year) and doesn’t want to sabotage the campaign, so she refused to give interviews. But I found an old radio interview with the father Brian Jopek (who served in Iraq and is now apparently serving at the Guantanamo base):The parents are reportedly divorced now. I don't think either wants the spotlight. Nothing I've seen refutes the senator's assertion that “She asked me ‘can you please make sure that another mother is not going through what I’m going through'". Likewise nothing I've seen indicates that this woman wants to be the next Cindy Sheehan (nor have I heard any accusations of that, but if she's forced to clarify her comments I can see that coming.)BRIAN JOPEK: Whatever is decided, we need to make sure that it benefits the American servicemen, and also the Iraqis.Regarding Barack Obama: According to the father, Tracy Jopek wrote to the Senator: “She had asked him not to wear the bracelet.”
* * *
We don’t wanna go back in there in ten years, at a greater cost and more lives.
I sure hope that, whoever is elected, Democrat or Republican, that they look at the big picture and don’t just pull up stakes — or “pop smoke” as we say in the military, because of the political atmosphere.”
The blogosphere is likely to turn stupid over this - followed closely by the mainstream media, and I foresee a train wreck with a military family forced on board. I really hope I'm wrong.
Update: I agree completely with this.
Hitler did it better!!!!
John McCain kicked the evening off with a wild exaggeration by describing the allied invasion of Normandy as “the greatest invasion” in history.So a big neener neener neener and in your face to McCain (and all surviving D-Day vets, too).
Such historical comparisons are always dangerous. In scale, the D-Day landings were far exceeded by Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union, in June 1941, and the Soviet invasion of Germany at the end of World War II.
A total of 326,000 allied troops took part in the initial D-day Landings in June 1944. By comparison, Hitler’s sent an army of 4.5 million men into the Soviet Union in June 1941 along a 1,800 mile front.
After getting over my initial disgust, my honest assessment is we're looking at a case of someone trying too hard to demonstrate their extensive knowledge of a topic (WWII history in this case) rather than trying to "debunk" McCain. But that's just a guess, so I'm also inclined to agree with Jules: "...in the end what it comes down to, Clintonianly speaking, is what you think “great” is."
So, today's Washington Post editorial begins with:
WHILE WASHINGTON was seized with congressional negotiations over the Wall Street bailout, Iraq's parliament on Wednesday took another major step toward political stabilization. By a unanimous vote, the national legislature approved a plan for local elections in 14 of 18 provinces by early next year -- clearing the way for a new, more representative and more secular wave of politicians to take office.And ends with:
Democrat Barack Obama continues to argue that only the systematic withdrawal of U.S. combat units will force Iraqi leaders to compromise. Yet the empirical evidence of the past year suggests the opposite: that only the greater security produced and guaranteed by American troops allows a political environment in which legislative deals and free elections are feasible.In short: "Senator Obama, withdraw your troop withdrawal".
Interesting - coming on the day of the foreign policy/national security debate.
I would note, however, that the simple presence of a large number of US forces on the ground doesn't automatically promote political reconciliation or facilitate a functioning government without some willing cooperation (or "buy-in") by key players. In short - the local elected officials have to want to make progress before progress can be made. Case in point: the United States. I'm not sure the US Government can reach Iraq-level results this weekend, but I am certain beyond any doubt there is no military solution to the problem.
More on this (and many other topics) in The Dawn Patrol.
Exonerated Marine to sue Rep. Murtha
One of the Marines cleared in the killings of Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha plans to sue his congressman today for statements he says defamed him and other members of his squad.
Former Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, 24, of Canonsburg, will file a civil lawsuit against U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Johnstown, who was widely quoted two years ago saying that eight Marines carried out a cold-blooded killing of 24 civilians in the Iraqi town on Nov. 19, 2005.
Charges were later dropped against all but one of the Marines, with a military prosecutor calling allegations against Mr. Sharratt "incredible."
If you've never read Lieutenant General Mattis' letter to Sharrat, you should take a moment to do so here.
Marine/Vietnam veteran Bing West , in his book The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq offers a recap of Murtha's attack on the young Marines:
On May 17, 2006, a bombastic politician rushed before the the cameras on Capitol Hill to accuse Marines of cold blooded murder in Haditha, unleashing a torrent of scurrilous speculation by a hyperbolic press. A panel of foreign policy experts ranked the 2006 Samarra mosque bombing as the worst setback in the Iraq War. Haditha ranked as the second worst. Al Qaeda was responsible for Samarra; the press and politicians, sacrificing balance for sensationalism, were responsible for distorting and deliberately exaggerating Haditha.For more insight on Murtha's treatment of serving soldiers, here's a description of a September 12, 2006 meeting between Murtha and Army Chief of Staff Peter Schoomaker from Bob Woodward's book The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008. On that day, Schoomaker had called on the congressman (and ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee) to discuss the Army's budget:
"They killed innocent civilians in cold blood. They actually went into the houses and killed women and children," Murtha thundered. "But I will not excuse murder. And this is what happened. There' no question in my mind about it."
As a leading advocate for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, Murtha advanced his own agenda by acting as judge and jury. Instead of cautioning restraint, other politicians opposed to the war attested to Murtha's credibility. "What I know is here is a guy who served our country," Senator Barack Obama said. "I would never second-guess John Murtha... he's somebody who knows of which he speaks."
Murtha typified the type of politician the mainstream press ordinarily despised - a man who flouted his power, cut backroom deals, and inserted earmarks into appropriations bills that funneled hundreds of milions to special interests, while receiving campaign contributions from those interests that ensured his reelection and and perpetuated pork barrel politics. Murtha abused his office as chairman of the Defense Subcommittee on Appropriations by slipping into the 2009 defense bill $176 million in earmarks - a record in the House. Instead of excoriating Murtha for sleazy politics, the mainstream press deified him because it suited their purposes.
Schoomaker argued that it was important to win in Iraq. Most people he had met out in the country, he said, wanted to see it through. It was important to succeed.Me, I just loves me some John Murtha movies:
Murtha launched into a diatribe against the president and the Iraq war. You can be as enthusiastic about the war as you want, he said, but we simply don't have the troops to sustain it for much longer. Public opinion was strongly against the war. How could the president ignore the American people? This is a democracy, Murtha insisted, pounding the table, waving a copy of the Constitution in the air and claiming that Bush had become a "dictator."
Schoomaker suggested that if Murtha thought the president's approval rating was low, he ought to take a look at recent polls. You'll find that the military is the institution that people have the most confidence in, followed by police and firefighters, then organized religion, he said. All these were above or near 50 percent approval. The president was down in the 30s, and Congress was in the 20s or lower. "Congress is even lower than the president, Schoomaker said.
"This meeting's over!" Murtha shouted, red faced and angry as hell.
Schoomaker left quietly.
You can find the original story on that second video here.
In the interest of fairness and impartiality, I should also note that Murtha's opponent in the November election is William Russell.
Congressman Murtha has an opponent. A man who is himself a decorated Iraq war veteran. A man who was in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. A man who has spent nearly 3 decades serving his country in uniform. Lt. Col. William Russell (USAR ret.) is challenging John Murtha – holding him accountable for his words and actions against our U.S. Marines. His web site, russellbrigade.com, takes you into the Pentagon during the events of 9-11. It also gives the people of southwestern Pennsylvania a real vision for economic growth and principled leadership while reminding us of the shame of Mr. Murtha’s unbelievable accusations. The best way to ensure that the Haditha Marines get their full measure of justice is to help the man who so vehemently and falsely accused them into retirement this November. William Russell is planning to do just that.All done!
Dear Manager,So I googled asiadomainnameregistrar and discovered (no surprise) it's a scam. (Unless the dollar has fallen so far that 840USD/ 5 Years Per Name is a good rate .)
We received a formal application on intending to register "mudvillegazette" as their domain name and Internet brand in China and also in Asia from an investment company on Sept.24th,2008. During our audit period, we find that this Investment company has no trade mark, brand or patent. As a professional institution of domain name registration, we have reasons to suspect this investment company to be a domain name grabber. Therefore, we need your confirmation on two points as follows.
First of all, whether this investment company is your business partner or distributor in China?
Secondly, whether you aslo need these domain names? (According to the rules of domain name registration, the investment company will be entitled to obtain a domain name but not need the permission from the original trademark owner.)
If you are not in charge of this issue, please transfer this email to the right department.
This is a letter for confirmation. If the mentioned third party is your business partner or distributor in China or in Asia, please DO NOT reply. We will automatically think that this application was from your business partner after our audit period.
Asia Domain Name Registrar
TEL : 86-21-312 609 71
FAX : 86-21-312 609 72
Jimbo weighs in on on Mackubin Thomas Owens' Wall Street Journal piece, and takes issue with statements therein. Boil it down to simplest terms, and the central argument becomes (per Jimbo) "whose fault our choice of the wrong strategy to start with was and who to blame for the failure to change it after several years of simply staying the course", with options limited in this discussion to America's military leaders or their civilian leadership. Jimbo's answer: "it was Rumsfeld" counters Owens:
If Mr. Woodward's account is true, it means that not since Gen. McClellan attempted to sabotage Lincoln's war policy in 1862 has the leadership of the U.S. military so blatantly attempted to undermine a president in the pursuit of his constitutional authority. It should be obvious that such active opposition to a president's policy poses a threat to the health of the civil-military balance in a republic.I urge you to read the full links above for background. But recognize that Owens is presenting an opinion piece that's fundamentally a book review - for Bob Woodward's The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008. - I book I'd urge you to read, too. I'm half way through it myself (completion delayed by the Milblogs Conference and time well spent with great friends old and new), and can't address whether the specific claims in the excerpt above are Woodward's or Owens' interpretation of Woodward. (I'll know soon - I'm almost there.) Though he makes no direct claims to objectivity, Woodward generally avoids such outright editorializing (or moralizing, if you prefer) in favor of a more subtle approach to swaying the reader.
Case in point, his treatment of Donald Rumsfeld. On page 129 Woodward describes a September 19, 2006 meting between the Secretary of Defense and retired General Jack Keane:
Few had more command experience than Keane. He had led a full corps of 50,000 soldiers. He'd become a Rumsfeld favorite among the generals - no small feat, given the mutual contempt between Rumsfeld and many of his military officers.And so he does - and in fact he provided a fine explanation of what was "wrong" with the strategy then in place, and presented a description of what we should do differently - a change in strategic focus combined with "an escalation of forces to gain security" - an approach that would be adopted the following year and refered to by the shorthand term "the surge".
Like many, Keane found Rumsfeld abrasive, dismissive, and distrustful of the uniformed military leaders. But he believed Rumsfeld was right about the need for dramatic change within the military, especially in the Army. As a member of the Defense Policy Board, an outside group of advisers that received regular top-secret briefings , Keane stayed up to date on Iraq. He shared his frustration with a fellow policy board member, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who urged him to lay out his concerns to the secretary.
But from Woodward's description we are left with little doubt that Rumsfeld was not too keen on the idea - and we can anticipate from Woodward's selection of adjectives ("abrasive, mutual contempt, dismissve, distrustful") exactly what sort of reception the Secretary would provide that (now proven correct) advice.
Or we can infer from that same selection that Woodward doesn't think too highly of Donald Rumsfeld. That argument is reinforced later in the book. By November 2006, various groups were completing studies of "the way forward" in (or out of) Iraq. The groups independently compiled a wide variety of options and the anticipated results of executing each. The Pentagon's "Council of Colonels", for example, offerred a range of considerations from "go big/full court press" (perhaps several hundred thousand additional troops) to "swift withdrawal", and Woodward presents those options to the reader without editorial comment. Immediately following that passage, however, he describes a (November 6, 2006) memo sent by Rumsfeld to the White House, listing possible options for Iraq (presumably independent of the Colonels - but Woodward is silent on Rumsfeld's degree of approval, interaction, or even awareness of the group).
"In my view it is time for a major adjustment", he [Rumsfeld] said... He listed some possible options: "an accelerated draw-down"; a withdrawal of U.S. forces from vulnerable positions and patrols; or providing money to key political and religious leaders, as Saddam had done.As were all those groups - from the Pentagon's colonels to the Iraq Study Group and others. But only for Rumsfeld does Woodward break from objective presentation and inject his own critical analysis. Why? I can't pretend to see into the author's mind. But I would argue that the media hated Donald Rumsfeld, to the point where objective reporting on the man was impossible. (One could argue he was a victim of Alinsky's rule #12 - a tactic applied at one time or another with varying degrees of success to every member of the Bush Administration.)
Runsfeld wrote that the "less attractive options" included continuing on the current path, moving "a large fraction of all U.S. forces into Baghdad to attempt to control it," increasing U.S. forces "substantially" or finally setting a "firm withdrawal date". He was all over the map.
More to follow...All done!
Behind the scenes stories, photos (yes, actual conference photos), and more at MilBlogs today.
And from Andi, for those who haven't heard:
As we said from the beginning, holding our conference in conjunction with BWE was a trial. While we're certainly interested in having some kind of presence at future Blog World Expos -- it is the premiere trade show for bloggers, after all -- I think the MilBlog community feels most at home in Washington, DC. Our "official" conference will be moved back to Washington in 2009 and will revert back to the model of the 2007 conference.
I'm shocked - shocked I tell you, to discover some of the things that were allegedly going on in a room I may or may not have been in in Vegas.
And how should I feel about the comment "Greyhawk is a very good public speaker and should probably run for emperor" when it comes from Barry Manilow's biggest fan? (I kid, I kid...)
Home safe and sound.
Waiting in the mail box: In a Time of War: The Proud and Perilous Journey of West Point' Class of 2002.
Those fine folks are captains now, with a six year baptism by fire. Over the next two decades they will become the leaders of America's Army (though many will lead elsewhere, no doubt). Some might argue the cost, but the nation benefits when those in the paneled offices are armed with knowledge beyond that gained from text books.
LTG William Caldwell's address to the 2008 MilBlog Conference:
Even though he was addressing the MilBlogs Conference specifically I think there are implications there that should be noted throughout the new media landscape. Lt Gen Caldwell is positioned to lead the military "charge" to embrace new media - far beyond just milbloggers. If this sort of thinking catches on, the opportunities/access for bloggers will continue to grow in the DoD.
And Lt Gen Caldwell isn't a guy just showing up for the game - his new media "strategy" has been evolving for quite some time, and in many ways is similar to his predecessor at CAC/Ft Leavenworth (then-Lt Gen Petraeus) reworking of larger strategy (or strategic thinking) for counter-insurgency operations.
And like that effort, this one would have been useful a few years earlier, too. But again I see parallels - Roggio's early embeds with Marines in Anbar being an example of the same sort of isolated early success in IO that Col McMaster's Tal Afar campaign or Col MacFarland's embrace of the Awakening movement was in COIN.
Less dramatic? Indeed. Less important? Time will tell.
The outline of history (at least the history of the Millblogs Conference) begins at
Some scrolling may be required.
More to follow. Also, check Pajamas TV through the day - you may find some video interviews with familiar folks.
We're on the road again.
Vegas, baby, Vegas.
Today: at the convention center, wandering about. Tonight: Blackfive and Co have something planned.
And here we are, somewhere west of sunset, enjoying the hospitality of Some Soldier's Mom somewhere in McCain (or is it Goldwater? Or God's...) country.
Forgive the dearth of posting. But we are out seeing the world, a few selected views of which are below in hopes that we gain your sympathy and understanding...
For those of you bound for the milblogs conference this weekend, we look forward to seeing you there. For those who can't make it, we look forward to bringing it to you via this humble portal. One way or another, I hope you can join us.
The Telegraph: Barack Obama's Democrats accuse John McCain campaign of telling lies - heh, the wonderful British sense of humor by understatment...
A memo from the Obama campaign at the weekend said that Mr McCain's aides had "distorted, distracted, and outright lied to the American people about her [Mrs Palin's] record in a desperate attempt to hide the fact that a McCain/Palin Administration would be nothing more than a continuation of the failed Bush policies of the last eight years".It's about time! If I had a dollar (or a pound) for everytime I saw a media report cite an organizer's claim that an anti-war rally had "thousands (or tens of thousands) of attendees when the number was actually lower by an order of magnitude I could retire from this high-payin' blogger gig and just hit the beach.
The memo also quoted a Bloomberg News report that stated McCain aides falsely claimed 23,000 people attended an outdoor McCain-Palin rally in Fairfax, Virginia last week. Journalists attending put the number between 8,000 and 10,000.
I'm not sure why they decided to start questioning those numbers now, but good on 'em.
When I took command of Multi-National Force-Iraq in February 2007, I noted that the situation in Iraq was hard but not hopeless. You have proven that assessment to be correct. Indeed, your great work, sacrifice, courage, and skill have helped to reverse a downward spiral toward civil war and to wrest the initiative from the enemies of the new Iraq."Hard is not Hopeless" - words to live by.
...my copy of Bob Woodward's The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008. Arrived just in time to take along on a trip this week - one that will end at BlogWorld Expo/The Milblogs Conference - hope to see you there.
I'll have Bing West's The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq with me, too. Woodward's book is focused on the leadsership - West's on the troops. Expect some compare/contrast posts to follow.
But wait - did you hear the one about the photographer hired to get some shots of John McCain for the Atlantic Monthly? I'll let her explain: "Some of my artwork has been pretty anti-Bush, so maybe it was somewhat irresponsible for them to hire me.”
And the Atlantic's PR firm, working weekend overtime: "She has, in fact, disgraced herself".
And Jeffery Goldberg, the author of the cover story: "Greenberg is quite obviously an indecent person who should not be working in magazine journalism"
You can find most of those quotes - and the photos in question, at the link. The quote you won't find is the one from McCain. That's because it's from Goldberg's story, which isn't linked there or at any of the other sites that have made the pictures into the story. And while those pictures are a (briefly) noteworthy story that's too bad - because sometimes you can learn a lot from reading the words, too.
And while The Wars of John McCain includes a lot of words, they are most definitely worth reading.
A few weeks ago, sitting in his suite in a Columbus, Ohio, hotel, I handed the senator a copy of his father’s 1972 Times opinion piece.That, my friends, is good stuff.
“1972?” he asked, reading it. “I hadn’t seen this. I was still in the prison.” He turned to Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who is among his closest friends in the Senate, and who had wandered into the suite while McCain and I were talking. “Hey, Lindsey, look at this article. This is from when The New York Times still published op-eds by McCains,” he said with a half-smile.
You'll find mention of McCain's father and grandfather and sons beyond what little was presented in the biography video at the Republican Convention - and discussion of the wars they fought (or are fighting). And interviews with several of McCain's fellow POWs (though I'm inclined to take issue with the blurring of the distinction between their position and that of John Kerry's felllow Swift Boat vets - those few words could have been cut from the finished product altogether) and fellow congressional Vietnam vets. You'll read some articulate and informed debate on America's final years in Vietnam, and how and why that (and all those other wars) does or doesn't inform John McCain's view of the world today. It is one of the finest, most balanced pieces of writing I've seen on John McCain, and it would be a damn shame if all anyone ever saw was the pictures - at least the ones that don't accompany the story anyway.
And while not referred to by the candidate as such, most of the article deals with McCain's view of his son's war. “The country is in one of our occasional periods of isolationism, a reaction to what [the public views] as failure, even when we are succeeding in Iraq—and we have succeeded in Iraq."
Goldberg notes - accurately - that "McCain rarely discusses his original vote, in 2002, to authorize the Iraq invasion; he prefers to talk about the surge." And that's unfortunate, because in spite of the opposition's steadfast refusal to back away from Iraq is Vietnam arguments (many of which were developed in 2002 - and most of which can still be validated by rapid withdrawal) one of the side benefits of winning is that you can actually say you knew we could do it all along. (Especially if you were right all along about what needed to be done - but in the US Government that group has a population of approximately one.)
There are two things I believe I can't be accused of - one is lack of commitment to finishing what we started in Iraq, and the second is not paying attention to what's going on over there. In late 2006/early '07 I wasn't sold on the idea of a surge (even though I knew I was going to be over there regardless). That's partly because I knew something that only a handful of people in America did - not just that something called the Anbar Awakening was turning things around in that province, but that American forces in Iraq had committed to ensuring the Awakening was going to work. I wasn't happy with McCain's treatment of General Abizaid at the time, and also thought certain people weren't paying enough attention to Afghanistan.
That makes me one of a very few people who can now legitimately argue that I was against the surge because I thught we could win without it and that we needed to pay more attention to Afghanistan. (But I also knew that if we fled Iraq we wouldn't stand a chance against the al Qaeda recruiting boom for the Afghan campaign that would follow.)
But I won't - because I was wrong. And throughout 2007 I came to realize that McCain was right, and that we couldn't calm Baghdad without "the surge". And we did - throughout a long hot summer while Americans were completely focused on Mexico.
How do I know McCain is right in saying we succeeded? Because of the number of people making this point (from the Atlantic):
Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island and a former Army officer, who traveled with Obama to Iraq in July, said of McCain: “I think he’s ignoring the consequences of Iraq. First of all, the intelligence and the arguments for Iraq have been proven universally wrong."Obviously he isn't going to take my advice, but I say give 'em hell, John.
But McCain believes strongly that the only way to ensure Saddam would never pose a threat to American interests was to remove him from power. “Is there anyone who believes that Saddam Hussein wouldn’t have pursued WMD?” he asked me. “He told his interrogators he would. Is there anybody who believes that the sanction regime was going to hold, or that the status quo would hold, or that sooner or later they wouldn’t shoot down one of our planes patrolling the no-fly zone?”Read the whole thing. All done!
This comment was unusual because McCain rarely discusses his original vote, in 2002, to authorize the Iraq invasion; he prefers to talk about the surge. The comment was also striking because it is almost identical to something he said to me around the time of the original vote. “There is no such thing as containment,” he said then. “If we don’t act, we’ll pay the price later. If we ‘give peace a chance,’ Saddam will pursue his ambitions against us, but he will be more powerful, and more deadly than ever.”
His constancy is noteworthy. Nothing in his experience, recent or not-so-recent, has moved him away from his essential belief that the president has a duty to confront perceived threats well before they reach American shores. I asked Kissinger whether he thinks that McCain can be too inflexible on the subject of preemption. He said McCain will not change his mind if he feels that the nation’s defense is at stake. Much of this, Kissinger continued, is related to McCain’s sense of national honor, and personal honor. “He will not do the easy thing,” he said.
I pointed out that McCain has changed many of his positions during his candidacy in order, it seems, to better conform to Republican orthodoxy. Kissinger replied: “Under the pressure of a presidential campaign, it’s possible that he will make adjustments. He may deviate from his positions, but he will not like himself for it.”
In my conversations with McCain, however, he never appeared greatly troubled by his shifts and reversals. It’s not difficult to understand why: tax policy, or health care, or even off-shore oil drilling are for him all matters of mere politics, and politics calls for ideological plasticity. It is only in the realm of national defense, and of American honor—two notions that for McCain are thoroughly entwined—that he becomes truly unbending.
Kissinger learned this at their first meeting. “When I was in Vietnam for negotiations on implementing the Paris Agreement, the North Vietnamese prime minister had a dinner—I was leaving the next day—and he said if I wanted to take McCain on my flight, it could be arranged,” he said. “I told him that I won’t take McCain or anyone else on my plane. The prisoner release would have to happen on a schedule previously agreed. Somehow McCain heard about this and months later, at the White House reception for returned prisoners, he said to me, ‘I want to thank you for saving my honor.’ What McCain did not tell me at that time was that he had refused to be released two years earlier unless all were released with him. It was better for him to remain in jail in order to preserve his honor and American honor than to come home on my plane.”
For McCain, the doctrine of preemption clearly falls outside the realm of mere politics, as does the need to “win,” rather than “end,” wars; the safety of America demands that they be fought, and honor demands that they be won.
(Part one is here.) In this episode: Did Sarah Palin promote an Alaskan National Guard General because he "changed his tune" and switched from attacking her to praising her over the past few days? Read on...
“I deal with trade issues with Mexico and Canada all the time, so you have that,” Napolitano said in an interview. “You’re the commander in chief of your National Guard and, in this context, many of us have been to Iraq and Afghanistan. We’ve been deploying Guard over there. We talk to the families of those who have died over there. So I think the current crop of governors has more relevant foreign policy experience perhaps than our predecessors.”That's Arizona’s Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano, in July, 2007 explaining why a Governor would be a great pick as a Vice Presidential candidate.
After John McCain picked a governor as his running mate, one of the first knowledgeable individuals to attempt to educate political reporters on the State and Federal roles of the National Guard and the role of the Governor therein was the previously (see part one) quoted Maj. Gen. Campbell of the Alaska National Guard in this August 31 AP story:
Maj. Gen. Craig Campbell, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, considers Palin "extremely responsive and smart" and says she is in charge when it comes to in-state services, such as emergencies and natural disasters where the National Guard is the first responder.It's possible, however, that Democrats think Americans are ignorant of the respective roles of State and Federal forces, and that they suspect that Republicans are preying on this ignorance by not stating clearly that "as Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin commands the National Guard when used in Alaska or in disaster relief efforts in other States but does not lead them in fixed-bayonet charges against the enemy if they are federalized."
But, in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, he said he and Palin play no role in national defense activities, even when they involve the Alaska National Guard. The entire operation is under federal control, and the governor is not briefed on situations.
CNN's Campbell Brown and John McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds sparred over this issue a few days later - both come off looking like blithering idiots. Barely able to hide her disgust, Brown attempts to get Bounds to acknowledge the "Guard Commander" position does not endow "foreign policy" credentials on the Governor (true). Rather than acknowledge that, Bounds insists that however little experience she may have in the "commander" role, it is more than Barack Obama has (true). But given a golden opportunity to mention that Obama's experience is "a speech in Germany" (or attending elementary school in Indonesia) he blows it. Given a chance to point out that at least Palin visited her troops at Landstuhl when she was in Germany, he passes. Perhaps he didn't know, or perhaps he did - and felt that mentioning the fact would be a low blow. (Some would argue, however, that that's his job.) And suddenly, Republicans are arguing that Palin's Guard Command is foreign policy experience. It doesn't and they aren't - at least not to the extent that Governor Napolitano did prior to Obama's Biden choice - but the rapid response is amazingly unstoppable - and likewise it has begun to denegrate the National Guard.
Many might not have noticed, but Maj. Gen. Campbell did:
As governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin has commanded the Alaska National Guard. Joining us live is Major General Craig Campbell from the Alaska National Guard. Major General, tell me, how long have you known Governor Palin?That's certainly ebullient praise, but you can decide for yourself whether that contradicts his earlier comments:
MAJ. GEN. CRAIG CAMPBELL, ALASKA NATIONAL GUARD: Governor Palin? For about 12 years.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, what was her job as governor in terms of the National Guard? What was her -- what did she have to do as governor in relation to the Guard?
CAMPBELL: Yes. Governor Palin is in charge, the commander-in-chief for the Alaska National Guard, and she plays the same role that all governors in all 54 states and territories play, running and managing and operating the Guard day to day for the states that they're responsible for.
I'll tell you, in the last few days, I've been watching the press, and I've not been very pleased with what I've been seeing about the chastising of the National Guard by having it diminished by the insinuation that a commander-in-chief of the National Guard doesn't really control the military. The National Guard has 500,000 people in it around this great country, serving in states and overseas. National Guards are state military forces run by governors, and Sarah Palin does it great.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, I understand -- I was doing a little research. We've been coming through everything we can find out about the governor. I understand that she went to Kuwait a year ago to visit with members of the Alaska National Guard. By any chance, did you go with her, or do you know anything about that trip?
CAMPBELL: I did not, but I do know about the trip because right after she got elected, when she was sworn in as governor, one of the first things at one of our briefings, she asked me, Where are our soldiers deployed, and how can I go see them? I told her they were in Kuwait. She asked to go. We worked with the Pentagon and got her over there. And the key result of that was when she came home to Alaska, she brought ideas about what soldiers' desires were, what family needs were, and implemented those into law the following year. That's what a commander-in-chief does, is take care of soldiers and airmen, and she does it exceptionally well.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did she do it in any different way than the former governors that you may have served under in Alaska? Is there anything special about her, or is she simply does doing her job?
CAMPBELL: Well, no, she does it exceptionally well. She is above and beyond what a governor would do. And I've watched and see this for a long time in many states around the country. And you know, there are a few governors that rise to the challenge and they take the National Guard as their own and they really want to provide the services that a commander-in- chief needs.
Sarah Palin does that. She goes to deployments. She goes to returns. When we work the budget -- when we work the budget, for the state, she wants to make sure that the state's putting the right amount of money in to support the soldiers' and airmen's needs in our National Guard. When she does policy, she makes sure that soldiers' families are taken care of in the state of Alaska. This is what a commander-in-chief does, and she does it really good.
VAN SUSTEREN: Does she do her homework? Because, you know, each -- you know, when you start a job, there are lots of challenges, new topics, things you never expected. Is she intellectually curious? Is she a hard worker? Does she do her homework?
CAMPBELL: She is awesome. She is as a fast learner, and she is -- in my opinion, she's on the go 24/7. She's on her Blackberry. I talk to her on the phone. I have meetings with her. And she is a quick learner. The stuff she had to learn about what the military does in the National Guard in Alaska, she learned in rapid-fire fashion, so she was able to utilize (ph) to help the soldiers and airmen in Alaska.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, I don't know if you know, but she's taking -- she's taking some heat from some in the media, including at least one magazine cover that wasn't particularly nice to her. Have you seen any of this? Have you heard any of this?
CAMPBELL: Yes, I have. I really have, Greta. And what I find very disturbing is it diminishes the National Guard. It makes the National Guard sound like it's not a real military force and only the president activates the military. And that's so false. Most of what the National Guard does they do for states under the commander-in-chief of their governor.
I have soldiers and airmen deployed right now -- In fact, let me just tell you about this past weekend with the hurricane down southeast. We deployed a C-17 airlifter with the Alaska National Guard. We took two of our Alaska National Guard helicopters and 30 Alaska National Guardsmen, and they went down to respond to that hurricane. and it was by order of Governor Palin because she had had the request from Governor Jindal from Louisiana. That's governor to governor, action of what they need to do for a National Guard. It didn't require presidential approval. It was under the deployment direction of the governor.
Maj. Gen. Craig Campbell, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, considers Palin "extremely responsive and smart" and says she is in charge when it comes to in-state services, such as emergencies and natural disasters where the National Guard is the first responder....but I say no. The later interview is certainly far more detailed, and includes actual quotes and not paraphrasings, but still there is no difference between the two. But for some reason Democrats have been obsessed with that earlier quote - more specifically, just the second paragraph, without a direct quote, and without all that "extremely responsive and smart" nonsense that preceded it. Now that someone (specifically, Campbell) has dared to tell more of the story, the rapid response kicks in again:
But, in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, he said he and Palin play no role in national defense activities, even when they involve the Alaska National Guard. The entire operation is under federal control, and the governor is not briefed on situations.
Realizing that Campbell was severely undercutting one of the campaign’s main talking points, it appears someone leaned on him and got him to change his tune…Leading the charge, the Democrats' own VoteVets group:
But suddenly--and strangely--the commander of the Alaska National Guard, Major General Campbell, changed his story. By the end of the convention, he was praising Palin's experience, talking on TV about how she had taken control of Alaska's National Guard operations and how she was a "great" leader.They are particularly incensed that Campbell also just got promoted to a third star: "If nothing else, this series of events raises serious questions about what's going on. And the media would be wise to probe this further." No doubt they will, and no doubt they won't get it right. If they did it would be a first for this month, at least.
Before anyone else gets their knickers in a twist over this issue, it should be noted that "This state promotion carries no financial benefit to Campbell. When serving in state status, the Adjutant General receives commissioner pay and benefits. When serving in active-duty status (federal), the Adjutant General is paid under the federally recognized rank of Major General."
So why the promotion? Because of events subsequent to the Hurricane Katrina fiasco. Among other things, the promotion establishes the Adjutant General as the ranking Guard member on scene in his or her state - an important distinction if other state's (or federal) forces are present for disaster relief:
Palin took the opportunity to promote Campbell ahead of any pending emergency that may occur with the upcoming fall storm season. This allows Alaska to have more of a say in times of state disasters.While Alaska is one of the first states to take this step, others are expected to follow. That excerpt above is from a press release on the promotion issued by Palin's office. But the wording comes directly from a memo from Campbell, dated 28 August, 2008 and found on Andrew Halcro's web page:
“This is about Alaskans serving Alaskans. The promotion is a statement that the Alaska National Guard is the state military force responsible for responding to state issues, at the direction of the Governor,” Governor Palin said. “The decision to promote the Adjutant General to Lieutenant General is based on a fundamental states’-rights stance, for which Alaska has a strong historical position.”
This issue gained momentum with governors following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when the Department of Defense pushed a change in federal law that authorized the President of the United States to mobilize National Guard members to federal service in response to emergencies, without the consent of the governor.
The National Governors Association and the Adjutants General Association of the United States were unanimously opposed to this change, and the following year Congress reversed the law. Concurrently, Alaska Statutes were changed to permit the governor to promote the Adjutant General to the state rank of Lieutenant General specifically for state service.
Point Paper On Adjutant General State PromotionHalcro was one of Palin's opponents in the 2006 governor's race, so kudos to him for publishing the full response. You can read that link for background on issues confronting the Alaska National Guard prior to 28 August, 2008.
Prepared: 28 August 2008
Thank you for allowing this opportunity to provide some background information on Governor Palin’s intention to promote the Adjutant General of Alaska to the state rank of Lieutenant General.
Wait - 28 August? That means Palin's decision precedes her selection as McCain's running mate - and has nothing whatsoever to do with any imaginary "behavior change" on the part of the General towards the press during September of this year. (In fact, it dates back far before 28 August - but this example is far more fun, for reasons we'll soon see.)
Back to the Democrats' VoteVets page - because you really aren't going to believe how stupid these people think you are:
See if this timeline is as eyebrow-raising to you as it is to me:Well, given that Friday, 28 August: Campbell had already responded to other isues raised by Halcro regarding his pending promotion, I'd have to answer that 'eyebrow' question "no". Given that VoteVets then links (in an update that says only "Whoah. The plot really thickens now.") Halcro's piece that completely destroys their own thesis (apparently they didn't notice THE DATE) I'd have to say it actually makes me laugh out loud.
Sunday 31 August 2008: Major General Craig Campbell, Adjutant General of the Alaska National Guard, tells the AP that he and Palin play no role in national defense activities, even when they involve the Alaska National Guard...
Wednesday 3 September 2008: Major General Craig Campbell does significantly more damage to Palin's credibility in this piece in the Boston Globe...
Friday 5 September 2008: Only two days later, Campbell's story has completely flip-flopped. Now he's suddenly praising Palin, appearing on Fox News to gush about what a superb commander-in-chief she is...
Monday 8 September: After the weekend--and after his complimentary remarks--Major General Campbell is promoted within the Alaska National Guard to the rank of Lieutenant General.
Okay, fall in, line up, no shoving - facts be damned - let's see who's ready to believe anything and everything they're told.
Alaska National Guard General gets promoted after retracting damaging Palin statementsReally? If it's so easy, how did you fail so badly?
This scandal is as easy to follow as it is transparently outrageous.
Palin promotes general after he changes his stance on her experienceThese morons even link the Halcro piece, too:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has promoted an adjutant-general in the Alaska National Guard to Lieutenant General after he reversed course on remarks that seemed to criticize the now-Republican candidate for Vice President.
The promotion was first noted by VoteVets' Brandon Friedman.Think Progress had the sense to put their headline in the form of a question: Did Palin Promote Alaska National Guard General Because He Changed His Tone To Support Her Credentials? The answer is "no" of course, but they only provide the question.
At least one Alaskan National Guardsman has expressed outrage at the promotion. In a posting on the blog of an Alaska radio host, a man who claims to be a member of the Alaska National Guard expressed his ire.
The Sniffington Post has the story, too - but in fairness, it''s a complete re-post of the VoteVets primary idiocy.
More to follow, I'm sure. What many of these stories have in common is a demand that mainsteam media report their lunacies as fact. But now that the story has been thoroughly and completely discredited, how long before the mainstream media reports that "questions have been raised" about Campbell's promotion?All done!
"I deal with trade issues with Mexico and Canada all the time, so you have that," Napolitano said in an interview. "You're the commander in chief of your National Guard and, in this context, many of us have been to Iraq and Afghanistan. We've been deploying Guard over there. We talk to the families of those who have died over there. So I think the current crop of governors has more relevant foreign policy experience perhaps than our predecessors."That's Arizona's Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano, in July, 2008 explaining why a Governor would be a great pick as a Vice Presidential candidate.
An odd argument. Given that George Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter were governors before they were presidents (the two Democrats were unknown on the national stage proir to their campaigns, and Bush only had a familiar name) and no Senator since John Kennedy has moved into the White House, one might perhaps wonder why a governor would be forced to explain their qualifications for higher office at all. But Arizona's was asked, and that's her response. So there you go.
I'm glad to hear of a Democrat proud of her position as commander of her National Guard. I've been a little worried about that lately. Democrats are having a tough time with the National Guard these days, as they have in the recent past, even though many are members and many are commanders. And I am sure there isn't a Democrat anywhere who would insult or denegrate the contribution of the Guard to the total force, or undermine an individual member of the Guard's contribution to the whole. Unless that individual is a Republican. Or unless that contribution to the total force can cost Republicans some "political points".
To seize control of the mission, Mr. Bush would have had to invoke the Insurrection Act, which allows the president in times of unrest to command active-duty forces into the states to perform law enforcement duties. But decision makers in Washington felt certain that Ms. Blanco would have resisted surrendering control, as Bush administration officials believe would have been required to deploy active-duty combat forces before law and order had been re-established.
While combat troops can conduct relief missions without the legal authority of the Insurrection Act, Pentagon and military officials say that no active-duty forces could have been sent into the chaos of New Orleans on Wednesday or Thursday without confronting law-and-order challenges.
But just as important to the administration were worries about the message that would have been sent by a president ousting a Southern governor of another party from command of her National Guard, according to administration, Pentagon and Justice Department officials.
"Can you imagine how it would have been perceived if a president of the United States of one party had pre-emptively taken from the female governor of another party the command and control of her forces, unless the security situation made it completely clear that she was unable to effectively execute her command authority and that lawlessness was the inevitable result?" asked one senior administration official, who spoke anonymously because the talks were confidential.
Officials in Louisiana agree that the governor would not have given up control over National Guard troops in her state as would have been required to send large numbers of active-duty soldiers into the area.
Aides to Ms. Blanco said she was prepared to accept the deployment of active-duty military officials in her state. But she and other state officials balked at giving up control of the Guard as Justice Department officials said would have been required by the Insurrection Act if those combat troops were to be sent in before order was restored.
In a separate discussion last weekend, the governor also rejected a more modest proposal for a hybrid command structure in which both the Guard and active-duty troops would be under the command of an active-duty, three-star general - but only after he had been sworn into the Louisiana National Guard.
Obviously Guard troops can be called up for overseas duty (or "federalized") in time of war, and in such cases they are clearly under federal control. But as evidenced in the aftermath of Katrina, there's a more complex relationship between Guard and Federal forces stateside - where and when they can be used, who commands, etc. etc. Confusion reigned supreme in 2005, and answers were as clear as Mississippi mud.
But few (and certainly none in the Bush administration) would deny that Governor Kathleen Blanco was in command of the Louisiana National Guard. Regardless of your feelings regarding her performance in that role, and no matter how badly (or rightly or wrongly) the national media wanted to "blame Bush" for all things Katrina, Blanco's perceived (by Louisiana voters) failures in that capacity contributed to this:
Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D) announced last night that she will not seek a second term this November, bowing to a political reality created by her handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005....and led to the election of Bobby Jindal, the man she defeated in the Governor's race four years before.
Such is the importance of the Governor's role as National Guard commander. Hopefully, any other Governors who didn't take that responsibility seriously enough to learn the complexities involved in coordinating with other Governors and Federal Agencies - perhaps in hope that television appearances screaming "HELP" would override the legal/constitutional requirements - learned something valuable from Blanco's experience in 2005. (Or 2007.)
Clearly Bobby Jindal did. Here's a quote from Alaska's Adjutant General, (then-) Major General Craig Campbell, Alaska National Guard:
I have soldiers and airmen deployed right now -- In fact, let me just tell you about this past weekend with the hurricane down southeast. We deployed a C-17 airlifter with the Alaska National Guard. We took two of our Alaska National Guard helicopters and 30 Alaska National Guardsmen, and they went down to respond to that hurricane. and it was by order of Governor Palin because she had had the request from Governor Jindal from Louisiana. That's governor to governor, action of what they need to do for a National Guard. It didn't require presidential approval. It was under the deployment direction of the governor.Seems like a long way to go (although Gustav was expected to be a "big one") but perhaps some day Louisiana can return the favor.
But that brings us to today - and the odd position that Democrats find themselves in regarding the importance of Governors, and their role as commanders of their state's National Guard. This began with the introduction of Governor Palin by John McCain, about which his campaign released a statement containing this line:
As the head of Alaska's National Guard and as the mother of a soldier herself, Governor Palin understands what it takes to lead our nation and she understands the importance of supporting our troops.That launched the New York Times (and others) into rapid response mode:
However, a review of Palin's 20 months in office shows that aside from overseeing the National Guard's state-level emergency missions, as all governors do, the first-term governor played no role in any territorial defense or other national defense operations involving military forces.I'm not exactly sure who was ever arguing otherwise, and unless Russia (or Canada, I suppose) invades Alaska, that fact won't change (and then only briefly, 'til the Feds take control).
For the record, I don't see the "Commander of the National Guard" responsibility as equivalent to Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, but other than direct military service (or US Secretary of Defense, if one wants to argue purely from the civilian control of military POV), it is the only "stepping stone" job thereto. Likewise, it is Palin's title. John McCain was once a prisoner of war, later a unit commander, then a House member and later a Senator. Barack Obama was once a community organizer, later a Senator from Illinois. Joe Biden was.. well, in the Senate forever. They is what they is, and listing their qualifications isn't the same as claiming that one specific accomplishment makes them Presidential material.
But Sarah Palin is Governor of Alaska, and commander of that state's National Guard. Does that matter? Should that information be withheld from voters? Should any information be withheld from voters?
There are those who would answer that final question "yes". We'll meet them in part two.All done!
But don't worry - I've got answers!
Beau's deployment raises an interesting question: What will become of Biden's Senate seat if he gets the veep nods and Obama wins the election? Delaware political observers (yes, they do exist) have long presumed that Beau hoped to succeed his father.So, "If Biden wins both races, he can take the Senate oath and then resign. The Democratic governor, Ruth Ann Minner, would then appoint a replacement...". Wow.
The senator, who is seeking a seventh term this year, may remain on the November Senate ballot, according to state election law. If Biden wins both races, he can take the Senate oath and then resign. The Democratic governor, Ruth Ann Minner, would then appoint a replacement who would serve until the next general election in 2010.
The law is unclear, however, as to whether Beau Biden could be named while serving in Iraq.
The Governor has the power to appoint Senators? Is there any sort of advice and consent mechanism involved? Can Senators likewise appoint new Governors? If not, one could almost infer some sort of informal hierarchy within the State, with the Governor at the top. (And please don't argue that Delaware is a small, insignificant State with a population under one million - Senators are equal.)
More: Holy Cow!
Gov. Janet Napolitano remains Arizona's most popular elected official and would top Sen. John McCain in a matchup for his Senate seat, according to poll results released Tuesday.That story is from 2007, by the way.
Several factors figure to influence any Napolitano decision about running for Senate. Perhaps most immediate is the presidential campaign, which, if a Democrat wins, could eventually result in a Cabinet or other appointment for Napolitano. If she resigns her office, Republican Secretary of State Jan Brewer would serve the remainder of Napolitano's term as governor.
If Arizona Sen. John McCain is elected president, his vacant Senate seat would have to be filled by a Republican appointed by Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano.Perhaps she could switch parties and pick herself, and everyone would be happy!
Meanwhile, in a big important State,
With Sen. Barack Obama setting his sights on the White House, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is keeping an eye on Obama's Senate seat.What Power these Governors have! Even if they lack the experience to be President, at least they can pick Senators.
If Obama wins in November, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will have the responsibility to fill Obama's vacant seat.
“I wouldn’t say no if asked,” Jackson, an Illinois Democrat, told Congressional Quarterly.
Jackson is a national co-chairman for Obama’s campaign, but he has competition to succeed Obama in the Senate. Tammy Duckworth, a disabled Iraq war veteran who lost a House bid in 2006 is often mentioned as a possibility, as are Illinois Reps. Rahm Emanuel, Jan Schakowsky, and Luis V. Gutierrez. Blagojevich could even appoint himself.
If Palin wins election as John McCain's vice president, [Alaska Lieutenant Governor Sean] Parnell would move up to governor and state Attorney General Talis Colberg would become lieutenant governor.So Ted Stevens would not get to pick a replacement Governor. All done!
Other fine folks elsewhere have already noted other problems with this Washington Post piece by Anne E. Kornblut. It is marred by a sort of sneering, bitter undertone that few reporters can approach a Sarah Palin story without revealing - along with a bit of contempt for complete facts that inevitably seems to accompany their results.
But that's to be expected. This is a political campaign, and McCain and Palin are on the other side. Fair enough.
This, on the other hand, disturbs me greatly:
Pvt. 1st Class Palin is being sent to Iraq with the Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division. Palin, 19, will be deployed to northern Iraq and will be primarily tasked with protecting and helping transport the deputy commander of his unit, Lt. Col. Michael W. Smith. His position is one of dismounted infantryman.I suppose it's possible the Army released that bit of information. But unless the rules have changed, that represents an OPSEC violation far exceeding anything I've ever seen. Certainly no milblogger has ever published something that blatant.
Compare that to this excerpt from a New York Times story on Jimmy McCain:
To protect Lance Corporal McCain in case he is again deployed to a war zone, The New York Times is not publishing recent photographs of him and has withheld some details of his service.Some might excuse the difference in detailed reporting by accusing Palin of using Track (and Trig, for that matter) as a campaign prop. (For that argument to be truly effective one must ignore Beau Biden's speech at the Democratic Convention). But Track joined the Army after she was elected Governor and long before McCain picked her as his running mate. Since she is one of three of the candidates with a son in the service, the degree to which we know details about any of them is less a result of the candidates' efforts and more a reflection of reporters' willingness to dig for facts and tell their tales. As I wrote a couple weeks ago,
And I don't want to get into details of MOS/unit/mission here either, but I'm sure that's going to be on the TeeVee before the weekend is out. I'd hope not - likewise with Biden's son - but enterprising reporters is what they is and do what they do and people have a right to know, alluh akbar.
Citing security restrictions, the Army will not say where in Iraq Palin's or Biden's units are being sent. Both units are scheduled to be in Iraq for 12 months.The same story adds this speculation about Palin's deployment:
Palin's unit is believed to be headed to Diyala, among the most dangerous of Iraq's 18 provinces. It extends from the northeastern suburbs of Baghdad to the Iranian border. Diyala has proven to be difficult to control because it is heavily mixed with Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs and Kurds.And offers only this about Biden's
Diyala was the fourth most violent of Iraq's provinces, averaging more than 3.5 attacks each day, according to figures from June. It has not been returned to Iraqi control and probably won't be before next year.
"Republicans always seem to imply that Democrats are somehow unpatriotic or want to be easy on the terrorists," said James Pfiffner, a professor at George Mason University's School of Public Policy. "But I think that Biden's son demonstrates that you can disagree with a policy and still support doing your duty."This isn't about the difference in missions - those who deploy to Iraq do what they do, and all are needed. The difference is in the level of detail provided - and there's a huge difference between "Bill will be a cook in Iraq" and "Bill will be a cook in Iraq working the lunch shift in the DFAC on the northwest corner of FOB (insert name) about 200 meters west of the main gate". A determined reporter can find out a lot of information about a unit's deployment (thousands of troops + tens of thousands of relatives x an infinite number of friends = opportunity). Knowing the risk involved, how much they choose to publish is determined by their own sense of decency balanced against their perception of the public's need to know. If you somehow benefit from knowing exactly where Track Palin will be in Iraq, and exactly what he's doing, then the reporters can declare "mission accomplished". If you need to know exactly where Beau Biden will be they have failed.
Beau Biden, who is Delaware's attorney general, is a captain in the Delaware National Guard and will work as a military lawyer in Iraq.
Update: Mrs G requests I clarify the title to this entry. It's a twist of the WaPo title "Palin Links Iraq to Sept. 11 In Talk to Troops in Alaska". By "links" I mean to imply that the WaPo story tells the al Qaeda goons exactly where they'll be able to "link up" with the Governor's son. The WaPo, on the other hand, uses the same word to imply that his mother is a blithering idiot. Hope this clarifies.
Jonathan Adler, on the Post story:
Most egregiously, there is no indication on the web-version of the story that it was corrected, not even a note at the end of the piece. Whatever one thinks of the Post's reporting here, it should at least acknowledge that it changed the story's text to fix an error. If we bloggers are expected to disclose substantive revisions to our blog posts, shouldn't the MSM be held to the same standard?All done!
If you like Military Sci-Fi the check out what's up at BlackFive
Laughing_Wolf at Blackfive is announcing a series of video interviews of prominent Baen authors of (military) Science Fiction. Already completed, they have interviews ready with:
Mark Van Name
Travis S. Taylor
and they start the series with Tom Kratman today.
On September 19, 2008, the 3rd Annual Milblogging Conference will be held in Las Vegas, during the conference MilBlogging.com will be the awarding the 3rd Annual Milbloggie Awards, which recognizes MilBloggers for their contribution to the milblogging world over the past year.
All nominations must be submitted online through Milblogging.com by 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, September 10th, 2008
Some readers may remember from past blog competition that Greyhawk does not want to be nominated in any weblog awards where he's competing with other active duty milblogs.
When I first saw the awards I was glad to see there was no military blog category. I know this was done with the best intentions but I can't support this sort of competition between actual military - there's a beauty 'pageant/popularity/high school prom queen element to this that utterly trivializes the fact of what we're doing.
There are a handful of actual blogs run by active duty military people on or the near the front lines I cycle through them every day. Every day I'm glad to find the authors have not gone the way of Bob Zangas, who quit blogging forever in the Spring when he and his Iraqi interpreter were gunned down near Hillah by insurgents wearing police uniforms. (Updated w/ milbloggers lost - Army Spc. Francisco G. Martinez, Lt. Thomas M. Martin, Sgt Eddie Jeffers, and Maj. Andrew Olmsted)
On the other hand I note a significant number of blogs about military done by veterans and non-military folks. I can't speak for others here on the front line but I think the category would best be filled by those sorts.
Again, I know the category was added with the best of intentions and am honored to be mentioned, but I respectfully decline to participate.
...some will note I requested not to be included in the Military Blogs category, in fact I swapped a couple of polite emails to that effect with Kevin Aylward, who understood my position in the matter completely.
The top five nominees in each branch category will be announced on Thursday, September 11th, 2008 and those nominees will move into the Voting Phase beginning September 11th, 2008. Details here
Bumped from 1 September - with an update you have to see to believe.
One knock against (relative) political newcomers Barack Obama and Sarah Palin has been their lack of economic and foreign policy experience. That's valid - compared to guys like Biden and McCain they don't have much of a resume. But there are points of comparison between the two younger members of the opposing tickets - here's a hopefully unbiased look at one somewhat direct point of comparison.
Ladies first - Governor Palin recently approved a deal with a Canadian corporation for a gas pipeline under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA). Here's the press release from her office:
Palin Signs AGIA License Bill Start Development on Natural Gas PipelineMore at the link. Accoding to Bloomberg, "The link will ship 4.5 billion cubic feet of gas a day through Canada to U.S. markets. TransCanada expects to hold an auction for capacity to help determine the size of the line in July 2010, the company said Aug. 1. The project could be operating by September 2018."
August 27, 2008, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin today signed House Bill 3001, authorizing the state to award an AGIA license allowing TransCanada Alaska to start developing a 1,715-mile natural gas pipeline from a treatment plant at Prudhoe Bay to the Alberta Hub in Canada. The Governor signed the bill at the Alaska AFL-CIO’s biennial convention.
“After dreaming of a natural gas pipeline for more than 30 years, Alaskans have now created the framework for the project to advance,” Governor Palin said. “This legislation brings us closer than we’ve ever been to building a gas pipeline and finally accessing our gas that has been languishing for so many decades on the North Slope.”
With that kind of money on the line, one might expect (ahem) competition. According to the Canada-based Financial Post, one would be right:
With Alaskan oil production on the decline, natural gas would keep the state's coffers flush. Jobs and cheaper fuel for Alaskans would be part of the package.Oddly enough, Palin's husband works for one of those companies in competition with the project:
More important, there is enough gas trapped under the tundra here to help the United States fend off an energy crisis that politicians have called one of the greatest threats to their country. Sarah Palin, Alaska's governor and, as of yesterday, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, wants to get it out of the ground as soon as possible.
But before that can happen, Alaska must resolve a $30-billion battle that pits Ms. Palin against energy giants BP PLC and ConocoPhillips Inc., two pillars of the state's economy. Calgary-based TransCanada Corp., Canada's largest pipeline company, is caught in the middle, enjoying legislative and some financial support from the state to build the 2,670-kilometre-long line that would ship four billion cubic feet of gas a day beginning in 2018.
But TransCanada is up against a rival pipeline project that would be built by BP and Conoco, the very oil companies TransCanada needs as its customers. Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest corporation, potentially holds the power to crown a winner by virtue of its sizeable gas production, but it has not yet picked a side.
It is a political poker game, and even though all the major parties say they are willing to work with one another, there is a plethora of ways they could stonewall the process.
"This project is important to Americans, important to the market, important to the economy, to our domestic energy independence," says Mr. Gibson.
Like Mr. Gibson, Sarah Palin is a fierce champion of the gas line and its role in the big energy picture. "We're taking steps towards dealing with an energy crisis that affects Alaska and the entire North American continent," she says, sitting in her Anchorage office, ordained with a large bearskin rug, the head propped up and claws attached resting on a chesterfield, the animal shot by her father. "Alaska finally can be in a position of producing and contributing to a solution here."
Ms. Palin gets a daily reminder about the sector's impact on the state. From her Anchorage office she has a full-on view of the ConocoPhillips building and its red, white and black logo. Moreover, her husband, Todd, works for BP in a "blue-collar union" job on the North Slope. (She denies this puts her in any conflict position). The governor is adamant about the role of the new pipeline in the state's future.But the Governor isn't afraid to take on Big Oil - using tactics that Democrats have enthusiastically approved:
Ms. Palin has her own weapon in her arsenal should a stalemate emerge. Exxon, Conoco and BP hold the majority of natural gas leases on the North Slope, but the state has the power to cancel them if the producers do not get the resources out of the ground when it is "reasonably economic" to do so. It's a weapon the state used as recently as this month when it cancelled all of Exxon's leases in the Port Thomson oil and gas field, save for a 15-acre unit, for failing to develop the zone. Exxon and the state are now fighting in court, and on Thursday it said it moved equipment into area.If all goes well, there will be many "winners" from this pipeline...
Mr. Palmer notes the massive project is not just good for Alaska. About 1,550 kilo-metres, or almost 60%, of the pipeline will run through Canada, generating "large" income tax and property tax benefits to the federal government, provinces, territories and First Nations, Mr. Palmer says. "In addition, there will be a very large reduction in tolls projected for Western Canadian producers because Alaskan gas should refill partially empty Western Canadian pipes. Our estimate has been that in the first 15 years, that's a toll reduction of some $10-billion."And the "loss" of Governor Palin to a Presidential campaign is not expected to derail the project she's set in motion:
Both TransCanada and Denali said Ms. Palin's race to the White House will have no effect their plans. Mr. Palmer, however, noted governors or legislatures can always pass new laws, but "this summer, the administration, as well as the legislation, ratified AGIA and strongly supported it after a very significant review period. We're confident the state of Alaska will remain supportive."Next: the Senator from Illinois. Even though he's not an executive, folks whose memories aren't too short will recall that Barack Obama has gained some recent experience dealing with America's northern neighbor on economic issues, too:
Obama faces tough questions on NAFTA, integrityUpdate/Bumped/HEH - Anchorage Daily News, August 7, 2008:
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - On the eve of contests he hopes will force Hillary Rodham Clinton from the presidential race, Barack Obama faced a barrage of attacks yesterday about his integrity, foremost among them whether he engaged in double-speak about his opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Much of the criticism was initiated by Clinton. But it assumed a life of its own as Obama struggled to explain why a Canadian government memo quoted one of his aides as saying Obama's opposition to NAFTA was for political show.
He also fended off accusations he has withheld information about his relationship with real estate developer Antoin Rezko, who went on trial in Chicago yesterday charged with federal corruption.
Obama has made honesty and transparency a cornerstone of his campaign to change "politics as usual" in Washington.
Both Obama and Clinton have said they would seek to unilaterally end NAFTA if Canada and Mexico did not agree to renegotiate portions seen as unfavorable to U.S. workers. Obama has repeatedly taken Clinton to task for initially supporting the trilateral pact, which her husband signed as president.
But on Sunday, the Associated Press released a leaked memo from a Canadian Consulate official in Chicago saying that in a Feb. 8 meeting, Obama's senior economic policy adviser told him Obama's tough NAFTA stance was "more about political posturing than a clear articulation of policy plans."
Economically depressed Ohio, a state where Obama dramatically reduced Clinton's lead, opposes NAFTA.
In a news conference here, Obama insisted the memo was inaccurate and noted the aide did not "reach out" to the consulate but was invited there.
Obama is on board with the natural gas pipelineSo add "endorsing Palin's project" to Obama's foreign policy resume. Make that double heh.
Presidential candidate Barack Obama is touting the Alaska natural gas pipeline.
Obama included the project in the energy plan he announced this week, calling for working "with the Canadian government to finally build the Alaska natural gas pipeline, delivering clean natural gas and creating good jobs in the process."
That brought the Democrat kudos from Gov. Sarah Palin, who some pundits are pushing as a possible vice presidential running mate for Republican John McCain.
Two of Obama's top advisers repeated the theme in a teleconference with Alaska reporters Wednesday. They said Obama would encourage a federal partnership with Alaska to further the project and try to prevent Exxon Mobil from having a "disproportionate influence over the timetable over the construction of this pipeline,"
More: What the hell, "triple heh" from the same story. How will the "federal partnership" work? Obama doesn't know - he'd let Palin figure that part out:
They were vague about how the partnership would work and how Exxon's influence might be blunted, saying that would have to be worked out with the governor.
2008-09-01 14:11:37All done!
A CBS interview with Bing West.
Reminds me of something I wrote from Baghdad last year...
How did we win this war? There are complex answers to that question, but there is also a simple one that is true and is the basis for all the complexities that spring from it: We won the war because United States Soldiers and Sailors and Airmen and Marines do not quit.But even today there is indeed much discussion to be had on how and why - one thing that surprises me each time new evidence confronts me, no matter how often that happens, is that so few Americans know what happened in Iraq over the past two years.
I've already mentioned West's The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq here, and I've already said we'll be quoting it frequently. Get one for yourself and you can read along.
Oh, and this is still "coming soon", too.
Mickey Kaus: McCain's Annoying Little Fraud.
A point worth examining, says I - so let's do so.I fought for the right strategy and more troops in Iraq, when it wasn't a popular thing to do. And when the pundits said my campaign was finished, I said I'd rather lose an election than see my country lose a war.This bit of history was repeated by the McCain campaign in at least one WaPo group interview I attended--suggesting it's an accepted talking point. It's also bogus. McCain's campaign imploded last summer because of his support for "comprehensive"immigration reform, including legalization of existing illegals (semi-amnesty).
--McCain's acceptance speech, 9/4/08
But let's acknowledge one point up front: Conservative Republicans have never been "comfortable" with McCain - to put it mildly. Anyone who argues otherwise (and Kaus isn't) is motivated by something other than truth. There's a corrolary to that point that many folks on both sides of the aisle are loathe to acknowledge: Conservatives might still be the "base" of the Republican Party, but they aren't powerful enough to get everything their way - witness John McCain is the Republican nominee.
But in the summer months of the year before an election, it's the Base that's going to fund nascent campaigns - with donations that could be considered risky investment. They've got several campaigns to choose from, so if you're a candidate in need of funds you either appeal to the existing base, identify a developing one, or create your own. Insofar as fundraising goes, it's clear - because his campaign did hit financial rock bottom in the summer of '07 - that McCain did none of the above.
Which brings us back to why.
"At the time," Kaus says, "the Official MSM Story line centered on budgetary problems (still not Iraq!), but McCain himself admitted the truth to New Yorker's Ryan Lizza".
Checking that New Yorker piece reveals it's from December, 2007. This doesn't change anything McCain said therein, but I want to clarify any confusion that may arise from the separate "At the time" (summer, 2007) portion of Kaus' statement. Lots of water passed under the bridges of the Tigris and Potomac between those two points in time.
Back to summer. If there was an "official MSM Story line", Anna Marie Cox followed it (or developed it) in her July 02, 2007 Time report: Is John McCain's Candidacy Cooked? No why's, just an examination of financial dire straits, including this evidence: "In order to stay in the race, the McCain camp cut dozens of staff positions on Monday while many senior staffers took pay cuts." But for the record, there's nothing wrong with not providing reasons in an early story on any topic. Report "x" before deadline "y" knowing that first guessess are usually wrong and "obvious" assumptions frequently are, too. Over one year later any reasons could still be called arguable (see Kaus, Mickey).
But if there was an "official MSM Story line", Reuters, broke from it on July 10 2007: Top two aides quit McCain's 2008 campaign
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican John McCain's top two aides left his struggling U.S. presidential campaign on Tuesday, dealing a sharp blow to the Arizona senator and casting doubt on the future of his 2008 bid.Reuters cited two reasons for that in paragraph three...
McCain said he would continue his White House run despite the departures of manager Terry Nelson and longtime chief strategist John Weaver, which were announced as McCain took the Senate floor to defend President George W. Bush's strategy in Iraq.
Once a front-runner in the Republican field, McCain has fallen behind as his staunch backing for Bush on the unpopular Iraq war and on an overhaul of immigration laws cost him support among both moderates and conservatives.But chose to emphasize the war and ignore immigration thereafter:
Tuesday's announcement came as McCain, who visited Iraq last week, reiterated his support for Bush's new war strategy and the Senate reopened debate on the issue.But three days later, official MSM Story line stalwart CNN didn't mention reasons in reporting the continued downhill slide: McCain campaign running out of money:
While Democrats are pressing for a plan to withdraw troops and several Republicans have defected from Bush over the war, McCain said it would be a mistake to abandon Bush's strategy now.
"I believe that our military in cooperation with Iraqi security forces is making progress in a number of areas. In other areas they are not," McCain said. "This strategy is the correct one."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – CNN has learned the already-dire situation for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign has actually gotten even worse, with two sources close to the candidate saying the campaign only has a paltry $250,000 left.But McCain hadn't yet hit bottom. Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic, July 16 2007: It's Official: McCain's Press Staff Resigns
Sen. John McCain's top three press aides resigned this morning, Republicans close to the campaign said and one of those aides confirmed.While Ambinder didn't mention Iraq or immigration in his piece, his comments section reveals some indication of the public discourse on the Iraq/immigration issues at the time. (Ron Paul supporters make a significant contribution - eagerly pointing out that their guy wants borders locked down and the US out of Iraq.)
The campaign's research director and two other press staffers also stepped down.
That same morning, NPR's Morning Edition joined Reuters in veering from the "official MSM Story line": McCain Nearly Broke, but Stays Course
Sen. John McCain, the Republican from Arizona vying for the presidency, vows to remain in the race despite a campaign in disarray and nearly broke.NPR emphasized Iraq...
At the American Legion hall in Claremont, New Hampshire more than 100 people showed up around 8:30 a.m. Frank Fahey was among them....but:
"I'm here to see if he can resurrect his campaign because I certainly want to be with a winner," Fahey said.
Winning seems like a dream for McCain as his campaign sinks in the polls and hemorrhages staff. He'll launch a bare-bones insurgent effort, traveling the state on his Straight Talk Express bus and numerous holding town hall meetings.
That approach worked for his campaign in 2000, but whether it can holdup now will depend on him.
"I don't think it's the same John McCain that we saw back in 2000," said Fahey, who has a lot of new questions for McCain.
When Fahey gets the chance, he addresses McCain pointedly: "Senator, there is no question you are an American hero; I voted for you the last time around. However, there's a perception created that you have become too close to President Bush and you have supported him too often."
"I should have called on your wife," McCain quipped, drawing laughter.
"Now as far as how close I am to Bush," he continued, "one of life's great ironies for me is that I was the vociferous critic of the way the war (in Iraq) was being conducted. I gave several speeches saying if we don't change what we're doing we're going to have a disaster. And so now I'm the guy who's responsible? 'Life is unfair,' as (former President) Jack Kennedy said."
McCain did call for the resignation of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld 3 ½ years ago. But that's been buried under the headlines about McCain's ardent defense of the war.
Another question was about the widespread perception that his campaign was over.
McCain, who spent five years as a prisoner of war, said he had no doubts he could recover.
"I've had tough times in my life. This is day at the beach compared to some other others. We're going to be fine," he said.
NPR: Even more than the fundraising problems, it is McCain's views that have put him in this situation. He readily acknowledges his position on Iraq cost him support among Independents and his position on immigration cost him with Republicans.Which (sans McCain's acknowledgement) is pretty close to Reuters more vague claim a few days earlier: "McCain has fallen behind as his staunch backing for Bush on the unpopular Iraq war and on an overhaul of immigration laws cost him support among both moderates and conservatives."
That summer, the war may have been costing McCain support among nervous conservatives who were anxiously trying to find some other national security issue they could be tough on (enter "border security") in case Iraq collapsed - and arguably overall was costing him "independents" (it gained him some of both, too - Americans are like that). But by December the war issue was less an albatross around his neck as violence levels fell - and "immigration reform" - for multiple reasons, was on the way out as an election issue.
But if by December the war wasn't costing McCain support...
Instead of trying to run a by-the-numbers conservative campaign, he is emphasizing issues on which he has taken what he believes to be principled but unpopular positions. He is the only one in the Republican field who seems eager to talk about Iraq. “My friends, here’s the news,” he told a small crowd in Seneca, South Carolina, a few days after returning from Thanksgiving with the troops. “We are winning in Iraq. We are winning in Iraq. We are winning in Iraq.”That's from the lengthy New Yorker piece cited by Kaus as proof that McCain's "I'd rather lose an election than see my country lose a war" quote is 'bogus'. So contra Kaus, we see that in December McCain thought - rightly or wrongly - that his Iraq position was principled but unpopular. As for any claim that he believed immigration alone was responsible for his summer financial woes, that can only be drawn from this partial (unusually edited and out of context) quote in the same piece:
"It was immigration" that hurt his campaign, he said when he continued, after a series of apologies on both sides. "I understand that. I was told by one of the pollsters, 'We see real bleeding.' "At this point one thing should be clear - there is no valid argument that the MSM attributed McCain's problems to "financial woes" without addressing cause - during the summer or afterwards. Likewise McCain acknowledges both of the oft-cited reasons for those financial woes. But McCain's "base" in the Republican Party has always been the moderate wing of the Party - not the "Conservative Base" that up until 2008 was assumed to be required for a Republican to capture a Presidential nod. McCain never appealed to that base. His position on immigration was one of many reasons for that, and his position on Iraq - even if they found it appealing - could not completely overcome that in the Primaries. Many were willing to "hold their nose and vote McCain" in the General, but only the selection of Sarah Palin cemented their support. Has that been forgotten already?
Meanwhile, as both Reuters and NPR acknowledged last summer, and as conventional wisdom indicates is true - his unswerving support for HIS TROOP SURGE (because he was far ahead of Bush on that one) cost him support from HIS base - the moderates in the Republican Party and independent voters, too. Folks can argue now that "the surge has succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated” or "it’s succeeded beyond our wildest dreams” or even "we knew all along our guys could get 'er done!" but among this year's remaining Presidential candidates only that middle statement is true - unless you're John McCain.All done!
...so below you'll find today's sermon, reprinted from a post I did at MilBlogs earlier in the week.
Let's talk about Religion and Politics and War
"that's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan"
Pray for guidance - a Christian will apply that advice to anything. That's in large part because Christians are never convinced that mankind (or an individual man or woman) acts in accordance with God's will - but Christians desire to act in such a manner. (A theological argument can be made against free will - but that's another issue altogether.) Many Americans probably don't know this, but one of the best known Christian prayers includes the phrase "thy will be done". (You can Google it, but it's true, I swear on a stack of Bibles.) Praying that you're doing the right thing is exactly the opposite of assuming that you're doing the right thing. People who pray for guidance are acknowledging that they are capable of acting in opposition to God's will, and likewise not convinced that they are acting in accordance with God's will.
So if you are a Christian, if you know any Christians, or if you understand Christianity you understand that quoted comment at the top of this entry. If you hate Christians you'll hate that comment. If you fear Christians you'll fear that comment. And if you feel that the separation of Church and State means that Christians have no place working in government jobs you'll feel that anyone who utters it is disqualified for any Government job, up to and including Vice President of the United States (or the job one heartbeat higher).
Over at The Sniffington Post they're salivating over the discovery that Sarah Palin is a Christian (no, really!?!). Not since the Democratic primaries have I heard an attack on a candidate's religion - or lack thereof. (Obama is a Muslim! Obama's Pastor is a whack job!) but I suspect that having been denied two well-planned attacks (Romney is a MORMON! Liebermann is a JEW!) the Sniffpo crowd is whipping out some prepared remarks, changing a name and a few keywords, and misfiring on this one instead (ready, fire, aim!).
Here's the comment above in context (there's video at the link). I'd add that the Governor - speaking at a church - also notes that she isn't using prepared remarks, so if this reads like someone talking rather than writing that's why.
My oldest, my son Track, he's a soldier in the United States Army now. He's an infantry man - and so Track sends his love also to his former nanny Christie. And Track - pray for our military - he's going to be deployed in September to Iraq - pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right also for this country - that our leaders, our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God - that's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan. So bless them with your prayers, your prayers are protection over our soldiers.(Previous entry on the Palin's son joining the Army here.)
Requesting prayers for her son, his fellow soldiers, and their leaders. Offensive? Disqualifying for high office? I guess that's an individual call. Every vote is sacred, says I - and every voter can make up his or her own mind. Many might even pray for guidance before doing so. That's fine by me.
But here's the Sniffpo interpretation of the scripture - their instructions to the choir on how to feel about this:
Speaking before the Pentecostal Church, Palin painted the current war in Iraq as a messianic affair in which the United States could act out the will of the Lord.I'm a lot more disturbed by people who twist a member of a religious group's meaning with a goal of fomenting resentment of that religious group than I am by members of religious groups.
And when I was in Iraq I was always happy to open a care package from members of an American Church* that included a note that "our thoughts and prayers are with you" along with the cookies.
I knew just what they meant.
*We never got packages from Atheist groups.All done!
In 2003, Gov. Frank Murkowski offered her an appointment to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. (I advised her not to take the position. She ignored my advice, and took the job anyway.) Shortly after taking her seat on the commission, she noticed that one of her fellow commissioners, Randy Reudrich, was doing political business on state time. Reudrich was (and still is) chairman of the state Republican party. Randy controls the flow of money to Republican candidates.Via milblogger Buck Sargent (in Iraq), who as a friend of that friend of Sarah Palin came up with this awesome headline: "Six degrees of Sarah Palin".
Once a year all political appointees in Alaska are required to sign a conflict of interest statement. Part of the statement requires commissioners to report any violation by their colleagues. Sarah felt she had no choice but to tell the truth about Reudrich’s abuses, even though she would be turning in a fellow Republican. In the days following her allegations many who follow Alaska politics (myself included) thought Sarah had committed political suicide. But her courageous stand against corruption endeared her to the citizens of Alaska.
In 2006 Sarah Palin decided to run for governor. You have no idea what a quixotic mission this was. To win elections in Alaska a candidate must gather the backing of at least one powerful group: the oil industry, the media or the labor unions. Sarah had none of these.
In which we ask the question, "Should Dems give props to the McCain campaign?"
Downtown Denver: the cameras roll and the crowd goes wild. Waving American flags, smiling, watching the fireworks - what a show!
Then the speech is over. The cameras are turned off. With no more use for them, the American flags and empty coke cups and used kleenex are tossed away - many into trash receptacles, others simply on the ground.
Not smart. This, on the other hand, is. (Assuming no flags were harmed in the Minneapolis/St Paul production...)
This morning, Republicans tell me that a worker at Invesco Field in Denver saved thousands of unused flags from the Democratic National Convention that were headed for the garbage. Guerrilla campaigning. They will use these flags at their own event today in Colorado Springs with John McCain and Sarah Palin.
Before McCain speaks today, veterans will haul these garbage bags filled with flags out onto the stage — with dramatic effect, no doubt — and tell the story.
“What you see in the picture I sent you is less than half of total flags,” a Republican official emailed. “We estimate the total number to be around 12,000 small flags and one full size 3×5 flag.”
I should add that I believe this flag issue indicates nothing whatsoever about Barack Obama, other than that his supporters obviously had no further use for those flags.
But Democratic convention organizers claimed the flags were not going to be discarded — but instead were snatched from the site of Obama’s historic address to carry out a “cheap political stunt.”All done!
Damon Jones, spokesman for the Democratic National Convention Committee, released a statement saying McCain should applaud the fact that thousands of American flags were “proudly waved” at their convention.
“But instead his supporters wrongfully took leftover bundles of our flags from the stadium to play out a cheap political stunt calling into question our patriotism,” he said.
Obama has faced attacks on his patriotism since the beginning of the Democratic primary race and has set up a Web site specifically designed to fight such charges.
The McCain campaign has denied questioning Obama’s patriotism, and even released a statement Friday calling Obama’s most recent comments on the matter “hysterical.”
Obama said Friday that Republicans are trying to make the election a personality contest, and that “what they’re really saying is ‘we’re going to try to scare people about Barack. So we’re going to say that you know, ‘Maybe he’s got Muslim connections or we’re going to say that, you know, he hangs out with radicals or he’s not patriotic.’”
Well, that ruffled some feathers.
I'm glad to see Republicans energetically defending themselves. Lethargy and malaise are unbecoming in a party during a Presidential campaign. On the political homefront they are indeed the one party that's supported the effort in Iraq from the beginning, and kept it from becoming "another Vietnam", and I think the GOP can take pride in that. I think if the average Republican knew more about the war in Iraq they would certainly do so. The funny thing is, the problem I see is that things are actually going better than even the most loyal Republican thinks (Hint: read that link). So I'm not impressed when I hear people insist we're winning the war we won last year.
Democrats, on the other hand, have offered nothing in response to this quote: "[Democrats] need to know all they can about Iraq, if they didn't, they could accidentally say something true about the war." So it goes.
But now I offer folks a chance to demonstrate their fundamental knowledge of Iraq, instead of their outrage at accusations of lacking same. Here's a two-part question - I think it's the most basic one possible:
What is the primary mission of the US military in Iraq?
a. Strategic Overwatch
c. Training Iraqi security forces
d. Providing security
e. Building infrastructure
f. All the above and more
g. None of the above
And where is that mission defined?
For bonus points: under whose authority is that mission conducted, and how is success measured?
Glenn Reynolds: "JIM LINDGREN -- WHO LOVES HIM SOME NUMBERS -- DOES AN ANALYSIS and concludes that in spite of the press treatment, Obama's speech included more negative attacks than Palin's."
Here's Lindgren's Obama count, and here are his numbers on Palin's speech. He concludes "If one compares Palin’s speech to Obama’s, it appears to me that they used similar amounts of sarcasm (not much), but Obama made considerably more extensive negative comments about McCain and Republican administrations than Palin did about Obama and Democrats."
We should pause here to acknowledge the official Obama campaign response to the Palin speech: "McCain is Bush" - and note that much of what follows is not part of the official Obama campaign response.
But it is important to recall that Palin's most quoted line "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities" is actually not an attack, but a direct response sparked by the official Obama campaign response to McCain's original announcement of his Veep choice: "Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency".
I score that one a tie, 1 to 1. Can we get on with a discussion of the issues now?
No. Here's a new bumper sticker, coming soon: Jesus was a community organizer. Pilate was a governor. Do Obama supporters really want to reinforce that "Messiah" thing? Given the known answer to the "do they really want to emphasize the experience issue?" question, I'm going to guess "yes". After all, if anyone points out the messianic aspects of the Obama campaign, the accused can respond by accusing the accusers of shouting antichrist...
And so on, and so on, and so on....
Can we ever get around to issues? Well, maybe - here's how. Time Magazine has already done an article detailing Palin's time as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. (Short version: no one liked her, she did what she wanted, not what they wanted, and got re-elected "by a landslide".) Now they can do a piece on Obama's time as a "community organizer". They can tell Americans exactly what it is that Community Organizers do, who pays their salaries (or how they get money for food), etc. etc. Then they can turn to Obama specifically. What were his goals? What did he accomplish? Are there any before and after pictures of the communities he organized? Are there folks available for interview whose lives were improved by his efforts? Are they proud to see where he is today? How do they expect their lives to change if he becomes President?
If the candidate is willing to participate, they could get a heck of a cover shot, Obama in the streets he knew so well, surrounded by those whose lives he touched those many years ago. Who wouldn't drop the cash for a magazine story detailing Obama's career as a Community Organizer? (Here are some starting points, if you're interested.)
Not only would that sell, it would finally put to rest these sorts of claims from an Instapundit emailer (I added the hyperlink in the quote below, by the way):
My casual discussions with ladies around the hospital where I work indicates that they have never heard of ACORN and have never heard of Bill Ayers. I suspect that they don't know anymore about Tony Rezko either. But everyone seems to know about Bristol Palin's fiance.All done!
Has there ever been a time in the history of our presidential politics where the press has so willfully chosen to do what they can to elect a specific candidate to the presidency?
I know many Republicans dislike South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. Maybe that explains the tepid response he's getting at the Republican National Convention. Or maybe it's what he's talking about: Iraq - and American troops in Iraq. As the cameras span the crowd through obvious applause lines I'm hearing polite smatterings thereof, and seeing folks chatting on cell phones or amongst themselves. Waiting for the main event, no doubt. They did perk up and cheer a bit more when he mentioned John McCain or Sarah Palin, but when he spoke of "winning" in Iraq or the fact that the words "winning" or "victory" could be used without fear at the Republican Convention - not so much.
That may be because many Republicans know very little about Iraq - certainly less than the average Democrat. I'd add that Republicans who do know what's going on in Iraq aren't afraid to talk about it and are pretty much fair in their assessment of the pros and cons and ups and downs, they're aware of every two steps forward and every one step back. But on the whole Democrats are more effective in discussing Iraq because even if they base their ultimate "opinions" on political party talking points they are aware of some background information that can be used to support that position. (Even if that's only the death toll.)
Before I deployed to Iraq last year I did an interview with Politico in which I speculated on the American public's view of the war in Iraq:
"...those at one end of a spectrum want to ignore it, and those at the opposite want it to be something it isn't. Both groups wish it would go away. As a guy just interested in presenting facts, I believe my efforts are less and less appealing to the average American every day."Democrats are at that "opposite end". They need to know all they can about Iraq, if they didn't, they could accidentally say something true about the war. Republicans are the other end, and they demonstrated that as Lindsey Graham tried and failed to get them to cheer for "victory".
It's also possible that knowing a lot about politicians and nothing about Iraq they don't trust a politician enough to endorse - even by cheering - anything one says about the war their country is waging half a world away. That's a wise decision, because with all the favorable facts available to him, Graham chose to display his ignorance instead: "Barack Obama went 2 and a half years between visits to Iraq and never once sat down with General Petraeus."
Wrong - here's an outstanding story on General Petraeus from The New Yorker. Even this brief excerpt is waaay to long for any delegate to the Republican National Convention to ever read - but folks with even a passing interest in war or politics will somehow clear that hurdle:
In July, Senator Barack Obama went to Iraq and saw the General; he was rewarded, courtesy of Petraeus’s energetic press aides, with an iconic photograph, printed in many dozens of newspapers, which showed the Senator aboard a command helicopter, smiling confidently at the General’s side.You can argue against Obama's position on Iraq - or you can lie about whether the Senator ever sat down with the General and in so doing destroy your own credibility. Graham chose the second option. Maybe it's not such a bad thing that no one was listening to him. Maybe it even explains why.
At the September, 2007, hearings on Iraq’s progress, Petraeus’s questioners included Senator Barack Obama, who noted that under the hearing’s rules he had only “seven minutes,” which he found “a little frustrating,” because the war was “extraordinarily complex.” Obama continued, “The question, I think, that everybody is asking is: How long will this take? And at what point do we say, ‘Enough’?” The Senator’s formulation evoked Petraeus’s own question, on the sixth day of the war: “Tell me how this ends.”
Petraeus opposes a firm timetable for withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, because he fears this might lead to a revival of intense violence in the country. At the hearing, Obama asked him, “If we’re there—the same place—a year from now, can you please describe for me any circumstances in which you would make a different recommendation and suggest it is now time for us to start withdrawing our troops? Any scenario?” Ryan Crocker, who accompanied Petraeus that day, offered an answer, but the Senator’s time expired before Petraeus could utter a single word in reply.
Obama’s questions gnawed at the General. The issue was fundamental: What was a minimally acceptable end state in Iraq, from the perspective of American interests?
Obama and Petraeus have some similar talents—they are calm under pressure, cerebral, and adaptive. Their professional relations, however, have not been intimate. After the MoveOn episode, Senate Republicans introduced a resolution, transparently crafted for political effect, to condemn the “General Betray Us” advertisement; this ploy forced Senate Democrats either to cast a vote that would alienate one of their party’s most important grassroots organizations or to cast one that would appear to question Petraeus’s integrity. Obama skipped the vote. Some of Petraeus’s aides took note of his decision disapprovingly. This year, Obama twice telephoned the General and expressed support, and he also praised Petraeus publicly. Still, he was not among those senators who made regular visits to Iraq. Late last spring, after Obama emerged as the presumptive Democratic nominee, McCain criticized him for failing to visit the war front or to consult with Petraeus. (McCain had been an early supporter of increased troop deployments to Iraq, a view that brought him into a natural alliance with Petraeus.) Obama scheduled travel to Afghanistan and Iraq; he was accompanied by two Senate colleagues who are military veterans, Chuck Hagel, a Republican, of Nebraska, and Jack Reed, a Democrat, of Rhode Island.
For Petraeus, because “the clock ran out” at the September, 2007, hearing, he recalled, the Senator’s arrival offered “an opportunity” to answer Obama’s question about the way out of Iraq. The main briefing for the three senators took place in a conference room at the U.S. Embassy complex. Petraeus and Crocker had mounted large storyboard charts on easels; for about thirty minutes, Petraeus ticked off bullet points with his laser pointer.
The General later described to me what he sought to convey to Obama about the prospective pace of U.S. troop reductions: “There are very rigorous plans. And they’re being executed. And we actually met the goals that were in much of the security lines for the summer of 2008. Here’s what they are for the summer of 2009—and for the end state, the eventual end state.”
Petraeus spoke about the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who had called a series of ceasefires against U.S. troops during 2007 and 2008. Some analysts have argued that Sadr’s pullback did more to reduce violence in Iraq than U.S. actions. Petraeus told the three senators, he recalled, that these ceasefires had not been undertaken “out of the goodness of their heart” but because U.S. and Iraqi forces had struck at Sadr’s militias and killed many of his commanders and recruits as well as Iranian fighters who worked with him. This battlefield action, rather than Sadr’s ceasefires, had deepened and sustained the lull in Iraq’s violence this summer, Petraeus argued.
The General also reviewed classified charts that outlined the Joint Campaign Plan’s priorities, divisions of labor, and timetables. The plan’s basic prescription, he said, is to move successfully through Iraq’s national elections, scheduled for late 2009, and then to begin a major transition: to get U.S. forces as quickly as possible to a role of pure overwatch. Exactly when this might be achieved, though, and how many troops might be required to make it work, is deliberately omitted from the plan.
The biggest difference between Obama’s goals for Iraq and the current Joint Campaign Plan is the Senator’s pledge to withdraw all American “combat brigades” within sixteen months. (Under his plan, a “residual” U.S. force would remain, to support Iraqi troops and conduct counterterrorism operations.) By contrast, in the Petraeus-authored design, which McCain has endorsed unequivocally, U.S. troop reductions would not be firmly dictated by any timetables but would be “conditions-based.” As the briefing ended and a discussion with the senators began, Petraeus made clear that he hoped to make further troop reductions in the near future, but he reiterated his belief that military commanders in Iraq needed flexibility to manage the pace of these reductions.
Reed cited the declaration made only days before by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, effectively endorsing Obama’s withdrawal deadlines. “You’re going to have timelines—that’s what the Iraqi political leaders will say to their publics,” Reed told Petraeus, as he recalled the thrust of his remarks. “The reality here is there will be some type of timeline or deadline”—and Petraeus and other commanders needed to start adjusting to that.
Obama told Petraeus, in Reed’s recollection, “that his responsibility as a prospective President was not limited to Iraq alone.” Among other American interests that had to be considered, Obama said, was a need to rebalance American forces in the region to reinforce the war in Afghanistan. This would soon be Petraeus’s responsibility, as CENTCOM commander, but the General did not declare his views on that subject.
Immediately after his meetings with Petraeus, Obama described for Terry Moran, of ABC News, what he considered to be the critical issue discussed in the briefing. “The question for me was: Does he consider the gains reversible when it comes to Al Qaeda in Iraq, or some of the Shia militias?” Obama said. “And, if so, what kinds of resources are required to make sure that we reach a tipping point where they can’t reconstitute themselves? And I think what came out of the conversation was a sense that this is not a science. It’s an art.”
Obama also said he refused “to get boxed into what I consider two false choices”; namely, that he should either embrace a “rigid timeline” or pledge, in advance of becoming President, to do in Iraq whatever Petraeus tells him is best, “which is what George Bush says he’s doing—in which case, I’m not doing my job as Commander-in-Chief. I’m essentially simply rubber-stamping decisions that are made on the ground.” The Senator’s distinction involves some intellectual acrobatics, but his meaning seems clear enough: Obama prefers his announced timeline, but he is not wedded to it.
Update: Follow up post here.
Over on NPR's web site they've posted the Obama response to Sarah Palin's speech. There's no additional commentary from anyone at NPR, just the text:
Obama Camp Response to Palin SpeechNo shockers there - if you aren't familiar with the Obama camp's response to everything about McCain, it's that McCain is Bush. That response could easily have been written before the speech, giving Mr Burton a chance to catch up on some sleep. Nothing wrong with that. Likewise it's fine for NPR to publish the response. I like NPR. I enjoy listening to NPR.
From Obama spokesman Bill Burton:The speech that Governor Palin gave was well delivered, but it was written by George Bush's speechwriter and sounds exactly like the same divisive, partisan attacks we've heard from George Bush for the last eight years. If Governor Palin and John McCain want to define 'change' as voting with George Bush 90% of the time, that's their choice, but we don't think the American people are ready to take a 10% chance on change.
But they also have a comment function. Ten of the first dozen comments appear to come from Obama supporters (or at least McCain/Palin opposition). That doesn't shock me either - NPR has a reputation as "liberal". As "intellectual" too.
A couple of those comments are fairly innocuous...
The press are so easily impressed my an actor...She should win an academy award not the Vice Presidency. Sent by sue b | 3:52 AM ET | 09-04-2008...and - to be honest, vague. Unless there's a mailing list they're on but I'm not then I'm not sure why these folks believe I would know exactly what aspect of her speech was "acting" (I assume beyond normal levels for a political speech) or exactly why "force" is bad. (I used force to open a peanut butter jar just the other day.)
The forcefulness of the speech is notable. Force is not a good thing.
Sent by Sherrie Connelly | 2:56 AM ET | 09-04-2008
"Michael", on the other hand, was disturbed by Palin's unscientific view of global warming, and her lack of an inspiring "aura" like Obama's:
In considering Gov. Palin and her comments, bear in mind that if McCain is elected, she has a good chance of becoming president. The speech was professionally delivered and written by someone else. It was heavy on attacking Obama, with no new ideas (other than drill like a drunken sailor) or original thought. Country first, perhaps, but we are in a very interconnected world, with serious problems. We cannot ignore global warming any more than John McCain could opt to ignore his melanoma. When it comes to medicine we take scientific information seriously. Why not respect science in other cases? It can also be said for Obama that his aura of leadership really inspires. This is important, and I sensed no such inspiration in Palin's speech. Sorry, but I'm not ready to roll the dice on President Palin.And "kyle" is concerned about losing the votes of the "Women not wearing their thinking caps" who could be "brainwashed" if Obama doesn't give Hillary some money to pay off her "dept":
Sent by Michael Rich | 2:58 AM ET | 09-04-2008
this is a letter i'm about to send via email and u.s. postal to high profile Dems and the Obama staff members, each of them:While "Beth-Ann" has created her own Republican Policies to oppose:
As a voter of Obama in the primaries, I have a worry but also a hope:
that if he pays off Hillary's dept, he will further cement needed votes
that McCain plans to steal with Palin on his ticket.
After her speech, it now is paramount that Obama does so.
Women not wearing their thinking caps will be brain washed into voting for a ticket that will over turn their rights, not only a anti choice candidate BUT a potential VP (and president her self) that is even against choice in case of rape and incest.
as McCain has pointed out already,
he may be the one to replace 3 justices on the Supreme Court.
make a copy or send your own message to your senator....the time is now!
Sent by kyle | 3:54 AM ET | 09-04-2008
The McCain/Paulin 2008 Domestic and Foreign PoliciesShe's very witty - compared to the rest. And I love her call for "eduction". I think Americans can benefit greatly from eduction.
1) Economic plan--Sen. Obama is Evil
2) Energy Plan--Obama is a dumb blonde
3) Housing Crisis--Sen. Obama has horns
4) Unemployment-Democrats suck
5) Middle class tax--Obama is socialist
6) Foreign Dictators-Obama's too pretty to lead
7) Social security-Obama is not American, he graduated at the top of his law school class.
8) Medicare plan--Obama/Dems/Europe are the new axis of Evil
9) Global warming-Obama is a teacher's pet
10)Belief in Evolution-Obambi is a ZERO, get behind the McCain HERO
11) Sex Education, STD prevention: Did someone say sex? Sex should be banned, birth-control should be banned. Obstience only eduction.
12) Expansion of Executive Power--Obama is too skinny to lead
12) Religious Testing for Government positions-We are all Americans today (well, except Obambi)
13) Separation of church and state: We have no proof that Obama is NOT a terrorist
14) Role of Supreme court, Congress, and Declaration of War-He will sell Our country to Russia
15) Immigration: Obama hates baseball and says he's "allergic" to Apple pie!
Sent by Beth-Ann | 4:15 AM ET | 09-04-2008
Next, Palin is an evil danger to our country:
This woman is evil. Our country is in danger. someone PLEASE stop this before our country gets out of control...oh wait..it has already been out of control for 8 years. Do I have to move to canada if Caribou Barbie gets elected?They never keep that promise. A few minutes later "Kathleen" starts out okay, but can't keep her sanity beyond 1.5 sentences:
Sent by eileen dorn | 2:26 AM ET | 09-04-2008
McCain's choice for running-mate shows complete distain for the people outside his own party. Palin is no fence-builder who can be trusted to lead the entire nation; instead I fear she would dance gleefully around a fire upon which burned all the liberals and Democrats, environmentalists, women's rights advocates, and non-Christians of this nation. If Obama becomes President, I know he'll be respectful of the beliefs of those who now support McCain. It's not a mutual respect. If McCain wins, I'll be applying for citizenship in Canada as a political refugee.Canada is awful close to Alaska, though.
Sent by Kathlean Wolf | 2:31 AM ET | 09-04-2008
"Valle" seems to combine all the feelings of hate expressed by the others with the imaginary positions technique employed by "Beth-Ann":
"Saint" Palin shoots wolves from the sky, guts moose publicly and gleefully, treats her opponents (Lydia Green) cruely and without regard, yields power abusively, wants to tear up the alaskan wildlife refuge, thinks global warming is the name of a beauty salon, lies about her political activities, beleives Alaskas proximity to Russia gives her foreign poicy expertise, and beleives no woman has any right what so ever to choose her reproductive destiny. And worst of all, she and MCinsane will probably win. It makes my heart sick. And by the way, how can she be so pro life and so hell bent on killing everything else?But perhaps - after all that - the most amazing comment is this one from L. Schexnider, who assures us that the liberal-burning, hell bent on killing everything but babies, global warming-causing, evil, dangerous Palin and her Republican cohorts have only one weapon to use against real Americans - FEAR!
Sent by Valle | 3:32 AM ET | 09-04-2008
It is so unfortunate that the Republicans have but one weapon: fear. Fear Obama because he's a Muslim; fear Obama because he's eloquent; fear Obama because he's got an Ivy League education; fear Obama because he speaks of hope and change! Um, I may be wrong, but arent' those the same qualities our forefathers possessed when they proposed our separation from England? Maybe the Republicans should take their own advice and be fearful of no change at all.I'm not sure either, but if "L" is right I imagine our Ivy League educted, eloquent Muslim "forefathers" might be turning over in their graves (and perhaps annoying our foremothers in the next casket over). Or maybe "L" didn't mean what "L" wrote.
Sent by L. Schexnider | 2:32 AM ET | 09-04-2008
Finally, if "Judy Smith" is arguing in favor of Democrats, she might want to read her comrades' comments next time before adding her own thoughts:
Haven't we had enough "force", name calling and demeaning of people who do not agree with you? It has been 8 years of this and it hasn't worked. We need real change.This isn't from the keyboard kommandoes at the Sniffington Post or Daily Kooze. Again, that's ten of the first twelve comments, unedited, from NPR readers. (The other two appear to be from Republicans). Perhaps NPR commenters aren't representative of "mainstream" Democratic thought and are merely a lunatic fringe of the Party. I've got nothing against against NPR and don't hold them responsible for that content - and I'll repeat, I enjoy NPR radio myself. They simply posted the Obama response and let others have their say - a big reason I love America.
Sent by judy Smith | 3:14 AM ET | 09-04-2008
But I am thankful that Mudville commenters - regardless of their political leanings - are a much more thoughtful, intelligent, and freethinking lot than this strange and sad crew.All done!
..that's the title of this post at Volokh Conspiracy, a round up of NY Times quotes on the surge.
But in reading a few of the comments, I'm surprised at how few people know much of anything at all about our last two years in Iraq. On the up side, most are saying exactly that in their comments - "I don't know" vice stating some political talking point as fact.
Update: This could help - The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq
Bing West's book is not a thin one - anyone who tells you they've read it all is someone with a lot of spare time on their hands, and most 'reviews' I've read have been reviews of the introduction. But each chapter is broken down into blog entry length sections, so it's one that can be read and pondered at your leisure. And it is the first comprehensive history of America's time in Iraq, told by a man who spent much of that time there. I suspect that as with West's earlier work I'll be quoting it frequently here.
For those who may have missed it.
...and race, too. (But it's the Presidential Race. And the Human Race.) Read that link first, then the postscript below.
I think the folks that have a problem with Sarah Palin's religion have less problem with her belief in the Bible than with her by-example refutation of this philosophy:
The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy--everything. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always--do not forget this, Winston--always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face--for ever.'I don't think that book is taught in classrooms anymore either. All done!
One hurricane down, another off shore, one more behind it, and a couple months left in the season.
Good on all the folks involved who made the right choices in preparing for Hurricane Gustav. No one should accuse them of over-reacting. But the relative lack of damage could lead others to take the next one less seriously - and the next one is already threatening.
With that in mind, below is a reprint of a Mudville entry from July, 2005. Few people will remember "Hurricane" Dennis from that year - but it was the storm that helped set America up for the disaster that was Katrina a few weeks later.
Good Night, Dennis
If you missed them over the weekend, scroll down the main page here and you'll see several discussions on the landfall of Hurricane Dennis - reports from Cuba and the United States. Forecasted to slam the Florida coast as a category 3 or 4 storm, the post-landfall photos and video reveal damage consistent with a strong tropical storm with sporadic gusts to hurricane intensity. Coincidentally, this is exactly what wind sensors in the path of the storm detected - on shore and off.
Whether Dennis was a strong tropical storm or a weak hurricane is debatable. What's obvious now is that at and before landfall it wasn't a cat 3 hurricane - not even cat 2. A bad forecast? Not in all regards. Strong tropical storms do cause damage - As Dennis approached the Pensacola area flooding occurred in the rain bands over Apalachicola miles away from the center. Tornadoes likely formed inland. So arguably from the point of view of those in coastal communities the public interest was served - as far as people were made aware that something was going to happen, and they were prepared for the worst. And kudos to the National Hurricane Center, who nailed the expected path of the storm from a few days away.
But what about next time? Sensational type reporting - and exaggeration of minor storms into major stories - contributes to the lack of response on the part of many to a major storm when one does come along. People who erroneously believe they've survived a cat 3-4 storm will be in for a rude surprise when a real one moves in.
Because here's where things become dicey. As we noted before Dennis made landfall, no matter what would actually happen the media would report the Hurricane Center's landfall intensity forecast as if it had occurred - without regard to what was actually happening. (This is true only for forecasts of strong storms - they'd love to castigate the Hurricane Center for missing one - and that contributes to the problem too.)
Media hysteria is a small part of the feedback loop that accompanies one of these events. Consider this: the Hurricane Center makes a forecast. Media reports proclaim it as reality - although the NHC doesn't rely on those reports to evaluate it's performance it certainly makes it more difficult for them to stand up and say things were other than reported.
This is a good example of poor media coverage - an AP report from landfall at Guantanamo Cuba: Packing devastating 145 mph winds, Hurricane Dennis tore down a guard tower at the U.S. detention camp for terror suspects as it stalked Cuba's south coast and moved Friday toward the heart of the largest Caribbean island.
Sound impressive? The "guard tower" was actually a life guard platform knocked over by surf on the beach.
And here are some quotes from stories that appeared as the eye was moving on shore, before anyone knew what was going on.
Reuters: As it came ashore, Dennis was a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, a hurricane with winds of up to 130 mph (208 kph) capable of causing serious damage.
This made it as strong as Hurricane Ivan, which killed 25 people, caused $14 billion in damages and destroyed or damaged 13 oil drilling platforms in the Gulf in September. Earlier Sunday, Dennis was a stronger Category 4 storm.
The AP: The storm crossed land near the same state-line spot where Ivan arrived, pounding beachfronts already painfully exposed by denuded dunes, flattened neighborhoods and piles of rubble that threatened to turn into deadly missiles.
This sort of reporting is pure sensationalism. And it creates an illusion that the storm was as predicted - even though real data shows otherwise.
And the real problem kicks in when those who are responsible for the forecast - and who know what really happened - decide to stick to their guns and declare themselves right. No one expects weather forecasters to be right all the time - when they're wrong it's hardly newsworthy. There was no crime committed here, not even negligence. And no doubt with state of the art (or science, if you prefer) techniques and tools forecasters did the best job humanly possible. But by not admitting to the reality of what happened they excuse themselves from the responsibility of determining what did go wrong - and how to do better next time. Instead we get explanations like "it moved faster" or "improved building codes" - claims that will set us up for a disaster of epic proportions some day.
And here's the type of question that will never be answered: Aircraft measurement of winds indicated a strong storm. If those measurements were accurate, why didn't those winds reach the surface? Will they next time?
Given time you could come up with enough such questions to keep a platoon of university researchers busy for years, but instead we'll get nothing. Everything went exactly right. Science suffers, and knowledge isn't expanded.
Now let's move to the global scale. Is global warming real? The number of strong hurricanes this year will be a data point cited as evidence for or against global warming claims. Unfortunately, it's a tainted data set. I'm not taking a position on that topic here either way - just pointing out that it's unfortunate that bad data will be part of the equation.
Anyway - as Hurricane Dennis fades from the news and lingers only as a data point in the global warming record books we'll bid farewell to weather reporting in Mudville.
Til next time...All done!
Transfer of Security Responsibility for Anbar ProvinceHurricanes are dominating the weather news in the USA, so it's no surprise there's not a whole lot of coverage given to the end of the longest dust storm in history.
Monday, 01 September 2008
U.S. EMBASSY – BAGHDAD
For Immediate Release
Sept 01, 2008
By Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker and General David H. Petraeus
on the Transfer of Security Responsibility for Anbar Province
The United States and Multi-National Force-Iraq welcome the transfer of security in Anbar Province to Iraqi responsibility as a positive step on the path to Iraq's self-reliance.
Anbar is the eleventh province to be transferred to Iraqi security responsibility. The first province transferred to Government of Iraqi security control was Muthanna in July 2006, followed by Dhi Qar, An Najaf, Maysan, Irbil, Sulaymaniyah, Dahuk, Karbala, and most recently Basrah in December 2007.
The transfer of security responsibility in Anbar is significant because it is geographically the largest province in Iraq and borders three countries.
Iraqi Security Forces in Anbar have been operating independently for the past two months. Working with local government and military officials, they have demonstrated their readiness to assume responsibility for the provincial security of Al Anbar. Today this responsibility is theirs.
The transition of responsibility for security in Anbar Province is an important step. The provincial and military leadership in Anbar will have to work cooperatively in order to attain the sustainable security necessary for long term economic prosperity. We will assist as requested. The United States and Multi-National Force-Iraq congratulate the Government of Iraq on this important milestone.
I'm at roughly the halfway point in my latest Iraq tour, and though I haven't done any blogging of note this time around (Big Army is frowning upon it more so now than in the past), I thought I at least owed y'all an update.Well, given that apparently there's been nothing to write about besides dust, dust, and dust...
The 17-year-old daughter of the Republican vice-presidential candidate, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, is pregnant, Palin said Monday in an announcement intended to knock down rumors by liberal bloggers that Palin faked her own pregnancy to cover up for her child.Story here. Good luck with that "liberal bloggers" thing.
Update - Andrew Sullivan, post-announcement: "Now all we need is confirmation from the obstetrician who delivered Sarah's baby, Trig."
He's been one of the most intense followers (some might argue "proponent") of the "Trig is Bristol's baby" story. If the Palins really want to "knock down rumors" they might have to do just that.
I respect rights to privacy, and have a 17-year old daughter myself, so I empathize. But I must note that had this info been released prior to the veep announcement it would be every bit the non-story that it absolutely isn't right now. (Or will be tomorrow - during a break in the wall-to-wall hurricane coverage.)
FWIW - odd that with all the effort put forth by "liberal bloggers" to prove Bristol Palin was pregnant months ago they missed the fact that she is now. I suppose it's true, as a wise man once said, that "to see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."
And Barack Obama: "This issue is off limits".
"And so I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories," he said. "You know my mother had me when she was 18, and how a family deals with issues and, you know, teenage children, that shouldn't be the topic of our politics and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that's off limits."The Senator can empathize, too.
Concluded Obama before getting on his campaign bus headed to Milwaukee, Wisc., "Our people were not involved in any way in this and they will not be. And if I ever thought that it was somebody in my campaign that was involved in something like that, they'd be fired."