If only we had known that Facebook and Twitter was swifter and more effective in toppling tyranny and spreading freedom. Maybe we would have lost fewer young American lives occupying two obstinate Middle Eastern countries.
Prosecuting the war on terror has always required a steely resolve, a heart of courage and a complete disregard for history, facts or anything approaching reality. It is a shame that the Nobel Prize committee can’t cough up a Nobel War prize. John McCain and the neo cons would be shoo ins. Frank Rich of the New York Times explains:
Perhaps the most surreal aspect of our great Afghanistan debate is the Beltway credence given to the ravings of the unrepenant blunderers who dug us into this hole in the first place.
Let’s be clear: Those who demanded that America divert its troops and treasure from Afghanistan to Iraq in 2002 and 2003 — when there was no Qaeda presence in Iraq — bear responsibility for the chaos in Afghanistan that ensued. Now they have the nerve to imperiously and tardily demand that America increase its 68,000-strong presence in Afghanistan to clean up their mess — even though the number of Qaeda insurgents there has dwindled to fewer than 100, according to the president’s national security adviser, Gen. James Jones.
But why let facts get in the way? Just as these hawks insisted that Iraq was “the central front in the war on terror” when the central front was Afghanistan, so they insist that Afghanistan is the central front now that it has migrated to Pakistan. When the day comes for them to anoint Pakistan as the central front, it will be proof positive that Al Qaeda has consolidated its hold on Somalia and Yemen.
To appreciate this crowd’s spotless record of failure, consider its noisiest standard-bearer, John McCain. He made every wrong judgment call that could be made after 9/11. It’s not just that he echoed the Bush administration’s constant innuendos that Iraq collaborated with Al Qaeda’s attack on America. Or that he hyped the faulty W.M.D. evidence to the hysterical extreme of fingering Iraq for the anthrax attacks in Washington. Or that he promised we would win the Iraq war “easily.” Or that he predicted that the Sunnis and the Shiites would “probably get along” in post-Saddam Iraq because there was “not a history of clashes” between them.
What’s more mortifying still is that McCain was just as wrong about Afghanistan and Pakistan. He routinely minimized or dismissed the growing threats in both countries over the past six years, lest they draw American resources away from his pet crusade in Iraq.
Two years after 9/11 he was claiming that we could “in the long term” somehow “muddle through” in Afghanistan. (He now has the chutzpah to accuse President Obama of wanting to “muddle through” there.) Even after the insurgency accelerated in Afghanistan in 2005, McCain was still bragging about the “remarkable success” of that prematurely abandoned war. In 2007, some 15 months after the Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf signed a phony “truce” ceding territory on the Afghanistan border to terrorists, McCain gave Musharraf a thumb’s up. As a presidential candidate in the summer of 2008, McCain cared so little about Afghanistan it didn’t even merit a mention among the national security planks on his campaign Web site…
…Americans, meanwhile, want to see the fine print after eight years of fiasco with little accounting. While McCain and company remain frozen where they were in 2001, many of their fellow citizens have learned from the Iraq tragedy. Polls persistently find that the country is skeptical about what should and can be accomplished in Afghanistan. They voted for Obama not least because they wanted a new post-9/11 vision of national security, and they will not again be so easily bullied by the blustering hawks’ doomsday scenarios. That gives our deliberating president both the time and the political space to get this long war’s second act right.
The Holy Scriptures warn us of false messiahs promising “Peace, peace” when there is no peace. However, the Good Book says precious little about folks who receive Nobel Peace prizes when they have no peace accomplishments to merit it. President Obama has been awarded this honor after a mere nine months on the job, with America embroiled in two land wars and, most recently, having just bombed the moon. The event is rich with irony. But our President accepted the award with appropriate humility and understood it as a reminder of what he has yet to be accomplished, rather than a metric of “mission accomplished” achievements to quote his Nobel-prizeless predecessor. Whether Obama’s over-the-top apologetic rhetoric on foreign soil has emboldened terrorists remains to be seen. What is certain is his turning sabre-rattling into multilateral cooperation has at least emboldened our European allies. Which after the last eight years , is worth, at least, an honorable mention.
Okay, nobody has accused Obama of having a shortage of gray matter. But, wow! His first televised interview, he does for Arabic television. And he can say that members of his family are Muslim, and that he grew up in Muslim countries. All the stuff that didn’t play well in West Virginia, gives this guy a leg up in the West Bank. Hopefully, this does more than reduce the flag burnings. Hopefully, it helps reshape the globe. Yes we can.
If Reagan was the Great Communicator, Dubya has been the Great Mangler of the English language. In his final press conference he made this statement concerning Iraq: “Not having weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment.” 23/6 couldn’t allow that one to pass:
Wait, what? Iraq’s failure to be in possession with weapons of mass destruction was disappointing to you? Has anyone ever said such a thing out loud? Forget presidents. Has any American ever said they were disappointed that a hostile country did not possess the power to destroy America?
The president followed that with, “I don’t know if you want to call those mistakes or not…”
Yes, we do. We REALLY want to call that a mistake. Not only was invading a country for possession of WMDs when they didn’t have them an enormous mistake, but you may be the first man on the planet who was “disappointed” that Saddam Hussein never got around to that whole nuclear capability thing.
Our little Dubya. Gotta love him!
John Bolton and Bush foreign policy take it on the chin. Ouch!
Well, clearly George W. Bush learned one thing from Ronald Reagan: to duck. Today in Iraq, the outgoing U.S. presdient was assailed by a shoe-wielding Iraqi reporter. While some pundits have interpreted the attack as a pointed critique on the Bush Doctrine, White House officials have assured us that it is simply another example of America being greeted as liberators. “When they can’t throw confetti,” a spokesman explained, “They improvise.” God bless you, Mr. Bush.
Remember when timetables for leaving Iraq was all about waving the white flag of surrender and telegraphing our plans to the terrorists? Well, look who just made a timetable. Kevin Drum of Mother Jones discusses the ramifications:
This is good for the Iraqis, who really do need the U.S. presence for a little while longer; good for George Bush, who’s getting a slightly longer timetable than Barack Obama would have negotiated; and good for Obama, since this essentially makes his decision to withdraw into a bipartisan agreement. After all, conservatives can hardly complain about Obama following a timetable that was negotiated and approved by Bush.
It was like the millennial New Year. Dancing in the streets. Raising the roof. Tears. Cheers. And that was just Kenya. So I thought it appropriate to give My Apologies presidential political correspondent, Governor Sarah Palin, a moment to discuss the global aspects of this Obama victory:
“You betcha! Gosh-golly, where do I begin? The world is a pretty big place. There’s the lower 48 and Wasilla…and of course Real America. Can I look at a map? Well, you know, the whole darn country of Africa is really excited about this Obama guy. I mean…Continent of Africa … why can’t I remember that geography stuff?…Africa and all its states, like Kenya and Libertaria. And that guy Sarkozy in France…he issued a statement…you know, the real one…not that guy in Canada, the prankster. Boy, that elite, gotcha comedian totally fooled me!!! You know he had that whole French accent and all. Anyway, you know all the countries and those continent things are all real excited…But that Vladmir Putin reared his ugly head…yeah, you betcha…Gosh, saw that one from my front door…But I’ll be keeping an eye on him, don’t you worry. Not to mention that Akmood-the-Dinnerjacket guy. That one gives me the willies. Yup, pretty monumental election…all those purple thumbs…Listen, I’ve got a humdinger of a concession speech they never let me give…maybe on your blog someday…”
As McCain’s campaign drops in the polls, it’s good know that he has growing support from at least one substantial faith community: al-Qaeda. A password-protected al-Qaeda website ecnourages the faithful to support a McCain presidency. He “…would be a faithful son of Bush” who would help al-Qaeda in “exhausting ” America.
Oh, not the old dude kowtowing to the base of his party while calling that being a “Maverick.” That speech was a snoozefest. The old coot can’t give a speech to save his life. Move over John, and let Sarah take over. She rocks! No, the American hero I’m talking about is Barack Obama. Tonight he crash-landed behind enemy lines: FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor. It was quite the display of heroism and love of country. O’Reilly may have busted his balls, but he couldn’t break his will. It is clearly the most substantive interrogation of this election. Nicely done, Mr. O’Reilly. If Obama can face down you, he can easily handle Iran.
He thinks Iranians are training Sunni-based al-Qaeda. He thinks that there is trouble on the Iraq/ Pakistan border ( please see map for irony). And now he tells us that a 16-month withdrawal is a pretty good plan (this of course, is Obama’s timetable…excuse me…time HORIZON). So why do we think McCain will keep us safer? I forget.
Bush is against it. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is for it. And John McCain is stuck in the middle. Previously, McCain went on the record saying that if the Iraqi government ever requested that we withdraw our forces, we would be honor-bound to do so. Now that the Iraqi government is requesting the very thing, McCain is putting his foot down. Apparently, Maliki is not to be taken seriously. According to McCain, he’s just being a “politician.” And McCain is being anything but. Right! More double talk than straight talk. All of which makes things very interesting; the American people want a timetable, the Iraqi government want a timetable and one candidate HAS a timetable. I think I know how this one ends.