Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1) the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2) in the public domain, with free use granted for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2006 by the respective authors. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Site contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com
WASHINGTON — The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, has given his military superiors and Defense Secretary Robert Gates his initial recommendation on when to resume a U.S. troop withdrawal and at what pace, a senior military officer close to the process said Friday.
The officer, who spoke to The Associated Press only on condition that he not be identified, said Petraeus was still analyzing the situation and had not yet submitted a final set of recommendations. That is expected to happen within the next week or so, but there is no firm deadline. [emphasis added]
What is gained by this leak immediately before the Republican convention? Not sure it was a sanctioned leak, but sure takes the wind out of the "no end in sight" crowd... Story here...
Here's the full late-2006 "surge" question you may have seen quoted (in whole or in part - but it's so brief I can't imagine why folks would want to edit it down) elsewhere:
ABM: We've lost a lot of Alaska's military members to the war in Iraq. How do you feel about sending more troops into battle, as President Bush is suggesting?That interview is dated early December, 2006 - just after the 2006 elections but with the announcement of the "surge" a month away - it was just one possible action among many (an "exit plan" being another) at the time.
Palin: I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq. I heard on the news about the new deployments, and while I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place; I want assurances that we are doing all we can to keep our troops safe. Every life lost is such a tragedy. I am very, very proud of the troops we have in Alaska, those fighting overseas for our freedoms, and the families here who are making so many sacrifices.
I've seen that quote reduced to "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq" - very much reminiscent of the chopping done to the McCain "100 years" remark. I'm not sure how many State governors have made memorable comments on Iraq. I'm not sure how many would use the other Party's talking points ("exit plan" in this example) in doing so. I don't fault Governors for answering questions, and if they choose to do so by pointing out the difference between State and Federal priorities (or demanding the assurances that Palin does above) I won't fault them for that either. Likewise if they - like so many others - have changed their opinions over the past two years (this interview is that old) I'm okay with that, too. Beyond all that, actions speak louder than words.
The full interview requires registration, covers other two year old topics, and can be found here. Other early national buzz on Palin centers on the "reformer" topic, with a few other mentions of her "libertarian" leanings based on a veto of a bill limiting some rights of same-sex couples. Both are mentioned below.
ABM: Why did you decide to run for office?I think comparing that to this equally informative piece on Biden - while more revealing of personality than head to head match up on issues - is a worthwhile exercise. All done!
Palin: Alaskans desired a change; you could feel it. The fact that Alaskans were looking for a positive change was evident to members of the public. Observations were being made about ethical lapses in government, and the public's trust being eroded. I had a couple of opportunities to speak out for Alaskans on ethical issues, and thought that I could offer another choice in the governor's race. I've always been committed to trust and transparency in state government, which I believed, and other Alaskans obviously believed, was lacking in the (Murkowski) administration.
ABM: You've only been in office a short time, but already, you've 'undone' a number of actions that former Gov. Murkowski put into place before leaving-for example, the Lynn Canal contract, and 11th-hour appointments to several state boards. Why did you feel that it was important to act on these issues so quickly?
Palin: Governor Murkowski had a 19 percent approval rating in his own party-it's pretty evident that something was wrong. And when something's wrong, it means actions have been taken that have led the public to distrust the administration. Actions which are pretty obvious, such as appointing your son-in-law to a post in the waning hours of the administration, and letting a contract on a road that is not supported by the public, or by the department who will be letting the contract. We had to undo these actions to get off on the right foot-we needed to let the public know that we are not afraid to tackle the issues that have led to their distrust.
ABM: You recently vetoed the bill that sought to block the state from giving public employee benefits, such as health insurance, to same-sex couples. This is despite the fact that you disagree with the state Supreme Court order that directs the state to offer benefits to same-sex partners of state employees. How would you like to see this issue handled?
Palin: I see this as a legislative issue. It was the prior administration's issue, but they didn't handle it well, so it got handed to us. There was not a lot of cooperation between the former administration and the Legislature on this issue. What came from their Legislature, their proposed solution, was unconstitutional. We just followed the constitution and did what was legally necessary. I believe that this issue should return to the Legislature, and we will work with them to find a solution. This could be an advisory vote, put before Alaska voters in April, which asks voters whether they want to see a constitutional amendment to more fully define what marriage is. In 1998, voters defined marriage in a traditional way, as between a man and a woman, and I think most people believed that inherent in that vote was that benefits presently supplied to couples would be exclusively supplied to married couples. If there is a future challenge in court, an advisory vote might allow the Legislature to have the confidence to put the constitutional amendment question to voters in 2008.
Here - or in the continue reading section below - is a story on a mom seeing her son off to Basic at Benning. I'm sure if you've read one you've read 'em all, and even though this mom is the Governor of Alaska the story is familiar to us milblogger types. (In fact "one of us" is what ran through my mind while reading.)
I'm not trying to get into apples/oranges or one-upmanship here, but I think it's worth noting that Track Palin enlisted* after High School. Journalists aren't going to catch that distinction between him and Biden and McCain's sons** - or even McCain himself.
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.
Added: To add a bit of perspective - at the time of this story - September 2007 - I (along with 160,000 other Americans in uniform) was in Iraq, General Petraeus hadn't yet delivered his report to congress, death tolls were still high, the consensus from mainstream media reports was that we were fighting a losing battle, and the conventional wisdom was that John McCain's support for the surge had cost him his political career - he was down in the polls and had no chance of winning the Republican nomination and could forget about the oval office. There was no New GI Bill (not even talk of it), congressmen (and others) were accusing troops in Iraq of slaughtering women and children, and Iraq Vets were getting a reputation in news media (and a spate of Hollywood "blockbusters") of being psychotic thugs with a host of other health problems who were being ignored by "the Army" and the VA. None of that was close to reality, of course, and "of course, we all knew all along the surge would work..." but it took a lot of guts (and/or faith) to enlist in September, 2007, and in many ways I'm sure it took even more to watch your 18 year old son do it.
*'Enlisted': John Kerry knows the difference: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
** Via Malclave, in comments: "One correction... only one of Sen. McCain's sons enrolled in Annapolis. The other in uniform, Jimmy McCain, enlisted in the Marines at 17."
Palin's son leaves for Army boot camp TRACK: Governor supports enlistment "for the right reasons."All done!
By STEVE QUINN
The Associated Press
Published: September 19th, 2007 06:57 AM
Last Modified: September 19th, 2007 05:47 PM
JUNEAU -- Gov. Sarah Palin's son, Track, left on Tuesday for infantry boot camp in Fort Benning, Ga.
The 18-year-old enlisted last week on the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Track is the oldest of Palin's four children and her only son.
"I support my son's independence, and I am proud of his decision because he made it for the right reasons -- to serve his country," Palin said.
In July, Palin went to Kuwait where she visited the Alaska Army National Guard's 3rd Battalion, 297th Infantry, a unit that is made up of about 575 Alaska men and women.
She said she wanted an up-close look at the sacrifices made by Alaska-based troops in the Middle East so she accepted the offer of a two-day tour sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Ultimately, it may have been a closer look at what awaits Track.
Palin said she has come to terms with the idea that Track could be deployed next year to Iraq, Kuwait or Afghanistan, where thousands of U.S. troops are based.
Last week President Bush approved a gradual reduction of U.S. forces, which stand at the highest level of the war, about 168,000 troops.
"With this quasi draw down, there may be shorter deployments, which is encouraging for Track; in fact, that's encouraging for all of our troops," Palin said. "But more likely than not, Track will end up in the Middle East."
Since her son enlisted, Palin said, she has received several e-mails from women whose sons or daughters have either enlisted or are serving overseas.
While proud of their children's decision to enlist, they have not lost sight of the prospects of losing a loved one in the war.
"I certainly have thought about it; the mixed emotions we all feel will be something that binds us together," Palin said. "But we don't regret that our son or daughter has made this decision."
Track Palin joins Wasilla High classmate John Bates at Fort Benning. The Palin family threw the teens a party on Sunday evening.
Palin said the party was not a farewell, but a thank you for the young men's commitment to serve.
"We want the boys to know that we support them and we've got their backs," Palin said.
We're sitting around the house of Greyhawk's talking about all the political brouhaha, and our middle child makes an insightful prediction.
For demonstrating inspirational service and citizenship in founding Soldiers' Angels, Patti Patton-Bader received the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) 2008 James E. Van Zandt Citizenship Award last week at the VFW 109th National Convention in Orlando, Florida. Through Soldiers’ Angels, Patton-Bader has inspired hundreds of thousands of volunteers to display their citizenship by actively support American military personnel in this time of war. With over twenty different teams and programs addressing a variety of needs, the organization’s 200,000 members assist the deployed, families on the homefront, the wounded, and families of the fallen.
Patton-Bader sees the award as a testimony to the efforts and effectiveness of the volunteers she leads. “I am so appreciative that the VFW honored Soldiers’ Angels with this wonderful award, she said. “Each of our volunteers create ripples of kindness that add up to an ocean of greatness in support of our heroes, and it fills my heart that veterans know they are loved and appreciated.”
The Van Zandt Citizenship Award is given in recognition of selfless service and dedication that inspire Americans to better citizenship. The citation reads
Way to go Patti!