I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.
I missed the President’s speech, unforgivable for a political junkie, I know, but it was well over when I was able to leave the office. In any case, I’m not much interested in set piece speeches by either side, only in what was said and the reaction and results.
I think he probably did as well as he could, given that he is the leader of and elected by the Democrats. About 1968, they ceased to be the party of FDR, Truman and JFK, and became the party of Bill Ayers, Michael Moore, John Kerry and the Blame-America-First crowd. (They had ceased to be the party of Jefferson and Jackson in 1932, though they still celebrate these men whose philosophies they abhor.)
Caught between his muscular campaign rhetoric (supported then by his leftist critics now) of bashing Bush for under-resourcing the “War of Necessity” in Afghanistan, and his defeatist party, he was pushed into a middle course, under-resourcing the general and bold new strategy he announced last March. And he gave the left a bone to try to keep them in line, promising to begin withdrawing—win or lose—in 18 months.
That may be like his impossible but politically-successful promises on Gitmo and Iraq, and he will be able to charm his way past not keeping him, with his sycophants in the Leftstream Media falling in line. But it lays out a strategy for the Taliban.
They have to keep fighting, of course, to hold the faithful together, But they can make a surge now before our surge arrives, then taper off, stockpile weapons, work to corrupt the Afghan army and government with drug money, infiltrate the Afghan Army and police and stockpile weapons and save forces for when time runs out on us. Plus the decreased attacks should give us the illusion the situation is stabilizing. In other words, a classic prevent defense.
Americans can’t grasp just how deep corruption runs in the third world, lacking Western values. Just as slavery or the subjugation of women was never viewed as wrong by any significant populations in Eastern or Muslim culture, and only came to be put down by the rise of Western thought, so too were nepotism, bribery and personal profiting assumed to be the right of anyone who came to power. What is accepted as normal in those cultures would shame a Chicago politician or one of the members of Congress currently being investigated (See this commentary: http://www.pjtv.com/v/2737).
If I were a young girl in Kabul, I wouldn’t expect to be in school in two years, or to ever hold a job or be a doctor, but to be the third wife of an elderly official or warlord, face covered and mouth shut.
Meanwhile politicians weigh the political consequences, and young Marines and soldiers die. It has always been thus. If you have thoughts about the President’s speech, please post them as comments on my blog under this post. (See an open letter to the President from a Marine vet, at the end of this Digest.)
Obama's Plan and the Key Battleground http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20091201_obamas_plan_and_key_battleground?utm_source=GWeekly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=091202&utm_content=readmore
I read this interesting analysis from StratFor after I had written the above. Maybe they might hire me? .
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Excerpt: Barack Obama spoke at West Point last night on the issue of Afghanistan. In 4608 words, he did not once mention the word "victory" and the closest he came to using the word "win" was those three letters appearing in the word "withdrawing." True to form, Obama spent most of his speech decrying the Bush administration going into Iraq. He said — a lie — that “Commanders in Afghanistan repeatedly asked for support to deal with the reemergence of the Taliban, but these reinforcements did not arrive.” The historic record shows that George Bush never denied commanders in Afghanistan the support they requested. The historic record shows that Barack Obama is not even granting McChrystal the General’s preferred troop level. McChrystal wanted 40,000 troops to 80,000 troops. So Bush gave the Generals in Afghanistan everything they wanted, despite Obama saying he did not, and Obama is not giving his General what was requested, despite claiming he is. (The title of this piece is cute, but will miss on folks under 35.)
With speech, president makes the conflict truly his own
Excerpt: President Obama assumed full ownership of the war in Afghanistan on Tuesday night with a speech arguing that the fastest way out of the conflict is a rapid and significant escalation of it. But the muted response from key Democratic congressional leaders and the skepticism from Republicans about an exit strategy signaled that the president faces a stiff fight to sell the policy.
The Afghan Escalation http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704107104574569891160756698.html
Excerpt: One of the media's least accurate tropes is that, with the President's speech last night, Afghanistan is now "Obama's war." No, it isn't. Nations go to war, not merely Administrations, and President Obama's commitment of 30,000 more troops to that Southwest Asian theater is a national investment in blood and treasure on behalf of vital U.S. security interests. We support Mr. Obama's decision, and this national effort, notwithstanding our concerns about the determination of the President and his party to see it through. Now that he's committed, so is the country, and one of our abiding principles is that nations should never start (much less escalate) wars they don't intend to win…. As for Republicans, some will be tempted to do to Mr. Obama what he did to Mr. Bush and oppose a war that is increasingly unpopular. We hope they do not. Whatever their doubts about Mr. Obama as a Commander-in-Chief, they should let Democrats be the defeatists. If the strategy succeeds, Republicans will get credit for helping in the national interest; and if it fails, the public will feel comfortable turning to them for national security leadership.
Critics From Across the Spectrum Rip Plan http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125971436880872037.html?mod=djemITP&mg=com-wsj
Excerpt: WASHINGTON—A barrage of instant criticism blasting President Barack Obama's new Afghanistan strategy from across the political spectrum signaled the challenges ahead in selling the plan to a skeptical public and Congress. Some of Mr. Obama's most loyal supporters among liberal grass-roots groups denounced the 30,000-troop escalation—despite a newly revealed plan for a quick drawdown that White House officials had hoped would mollify the left. (Sometimes, if you are in the middle of the road, you get hit by a truck.)
This piece I posted on my blog last February is still making the rounds. I was notified it was posted on two new blogs today. This one has a picture, not me, that I’m told may be an actor, a Robert David Hall, someone added to it. Don’t know—I don’t follow actors, so I never heard of him.
Another spying scandal at Gitmo http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/another_spying_scandal_at_gitmo_I7hKkTOEivnunImP6QY4gI
Excerpt: A number of Arabic and Pashtu interpreters at the terror-war detention center at Guantanamo Bay are under active investigation for omitting valuable intelligence from their translations of detainee interrogations, among other security breaches. This could taint some of the evidence at the "9/11 trial" in New York and proceedings against other detainees. Remarkably, the Pentagon never cleaned up the "mole infestation" at its highest-security facility after the FBI busted a Muslim spy ring at Gitmo in 2003. The 2003 probe involved at least two Arabic interpreters with high-level security clearance. Senior Airman Ahmad al-Halabi, a Syrian native, and former Army linguist Ahmed Mehalba, an Egyptian native, were later convicted of stealing or mishandling classified documents.
Mein Kampf a hit on Dhaka streets
Excerpt: Last week, Mein Kampf did unusually well because many bought the book to give it away as an Eid present. Mabul, 15, is among many boys who risk the chaos of Dhaka’s roads to earn a living selling pirated copies of popular paperbacks. Among his offerings are The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama, the 9/11 Commission Report – Omissions and Distortions by David Ray Griffin, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and copies of Mein Kampf (volumes one and two).
A 'Lost Decade' For U.S. Growth?
Excerpt: To say that the deficits of the current White House are extraordinary and unprecedented is almost to underplay the reality. From 2009 through 2012, we will add as much to the nation's debts as we did in the first 234 years of America's existence. We're not among those who think deficits are always and everywhere a bad thing. Indeed, if kept small, deficits really don't matter. It's like carrying a small balance on a credit card. As long as it doesn't grow to crowd out other spending, it doesn't matter much. But the coming wave of deficit spending is alarming by any measure. Over the next 10 years, according to number crunchers at the Heritage Foundation, the U.S. will rack up $13 trillion in debt — an amount nearly equal to our entire current economic output. This year alone, the deficit will be an astounding 11.2% of gross domestic product, or $1.4 trillion. Over the next 10 years, the deficit will average 5% of GDP. That compares with an average of 2.4% from 1970 to 2008…. If nothing's done, the spending and deficits will have ruinous effects on our economy and standard of living by forcing taxes up. As a recent report from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation notes, just to close this year's expected deficit would require a tripling of tax rates for all taxpayers. That's right: triple. Today, joint filers face tax rates that range from 10% to 35% of their income. To eliminate the deficit, the tax rates would have to soar to a range of 27.2% to 95.2%.
Preparing for Global Collapse
My fear. (Okay, one of them.) When age and health force me to cease work, hopefully not for a few years. My current IRA and a tad from Social Security would allow us to live modestly. We wouldn’t have, say, Al Gore’s carbon footprint, but we’d get by. I suppose if it does go crash, we’ll all starve together. Excerpt: “Société Générale has advised clients to be ready for a possible ‘global economic collapse’ over the next two years,” reported the UK Telegraph in a recent story. Headquartered in France, Société Générale (SG) is one of Europe’s largest financial services companies. One of the oldest banks in France, it is also a quintessentially mainstream institution whose leadership is largely blind to the shortcomings of the world’s current monetary regime. As so many other mainstream outfits, SG failed to see the coming of the current crisis and had to be rescued to the tune of billions of dollars. Much of it, paradoxically, came from the American taxpayer via the AIG bail out. One can get a good sense of how bad things must be if an institution like this is preparing its clients for the possibility of a “global economic collapse.” Given the present state of affairs, the bleak outlook is more than justified. To begin with, many governments currently find themselves on the verge of bankruptcy. Having tried to spur economic growth through vast injections of new money, they have contracted immense public debts. “High public debt looks entirely unsustainable in the long run. We have almost reached a point of no return for government debt,” concludes Société Générale in its report.
America as Texas vs. California
Excerpt: New Geography, the online magazine created by Joel Kotkin and others with a special focus on demographics and trends, has been tracking the implosion of California in an interesting way: by comparing it to Texas. Texas and California are America’s two most populous states, together numbering approximately 55 million people, which is only about 6 million less than the United Kingdom, where I live. California, as everyone knows, has a coolness factor that Texas cannot match. Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and wine. Say no more. But, unless one has been living in a cave, everyone knows that the cool state is also the broke state. If Hollywood turned California’s budget and fiscal position into a movie, it would be a blockbuster horror film indeed. Texas, on the other hand, is growing, creating wealth, and attracting the entrepreneurial and creative classes that too many people think only go to places like New York and California. This interesting post by Tory Gattis at New Geography explains why. He shares a four-point analysis from Trends magazine:
Group Says School Choice Will Save State Millions
Change we could believe in for schools? Excerpt: Vermont's Ethan Allen Institute says the state could save $80 million by offering school choice and other measures. The conservative think tank released a report from a special study committee. The group says Vermont is spending $250 to $300 million more than it should on education, with only average results to show for it. They noted the number of teachers, administrators and staff has gone up while the number of students has gone down. The report says virtual learning, charter schools and public school choice are needed to cut costs.
VOTE FRAUD: OH College Democrats Implicated in Vote Bounty Scheme http://www.redstate.com/jrichardson/2009/12/01/college-democrats-implicated-in-vote-bounty-scheme/
Democrats buying votes? Who would have guessed? Excerpt: Embattled Athens County, Ohio Democratic Chairwoman Susan Gwinn was indicted Monday on two counts of election-related bribery, special prosecutors announced today. Gwinn, who last month was charged with six felonies for campaign finance crimes and money-laundering, became the subject of a voter fraud investigation after an email from College Democrats Vice President Kellie Galan surfaced in which students were promised a cash bounty for every voter brought to the polls
Chris Matthews calls West Point “The Enemy Camp.”
Well, the Leftstream Media is anti-American, and the cadets are surely American, so hard to argue….
Obama and the Cold War
Old post, but interesting reading.
Misunderstood White House "Guests" http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/11/misunderstood_white_house_part.html
Too funny. Excerpt: Is it really appropriate and politically correct to call them party crashers just because they trespassed? Does that make them criminals? Isn't that discrimination? Shouldn't they be rewarded for such bold and brave behavior? Maybe they were just trying to feed their family? I would suggest that it's more appropriate to call them "Undocumented Guests!"
The state tends to expand in proportion to its means of existence and to live beyond its means, and these are, in the last analysis, nothing but the substance of the people. Woe to the people that cannot limit the sphere of action of the state! Freedom, private enterprise, wealth, happiness, independence, personal dignity, all vanish." --French economist Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) The Patriot Post www.patriotpost.us/subscribe/
"President Obama was shown in photos Friday smiling with the couple who crashed his state dinner. The photos showed the husband, the wife and the president. If it's a crime to talk your way into the White House without a background check, all three of them could face charges." --comedian Argus Hamilton. The Patriot Post www.patriotpost.us/subscribe/
Open letter to President Obama regarding Afghanistan.
December 2, 2009
In my first letter to you a few weeks ago, I ask that you make a decision as whether or not the war in Afghanistan is in the best interest of our nation. I ask that if you found that it is, that you support our troops 100%. It is your moral obligation and responsibility as Commander-in-chief. I also requested that if you decided that it was not in the interest of the United States, that you immediately withdraw our troops.
In your speech last night, December 1, 2009, you said several times that Afghanistan is vital to the security interest of the United States and our allies yet you fail to authorize the full contingent of troops requested by Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the man you chose to replace Gen. David McKiernan. Further, you established a unrealistic and perhaps unachievable timeline for accomplishing the mission and have surrendered strategic advantage and assisted the enemy by publicly giving them that timeline.
For a while, as I listened to you, I simply could not understand the circles in which you talked but finally it dawned on me that it's all about politics and apparently your priority is politics over what you have stated as being vital to our national security. You spoke as a politician more so than Commander-in-chief or even President.
In 1968, as a Marine Corporal leaving Khe Sanh just after the Siege, I charged President Lyndon Johnson with playing political football with the lives of our military in Vietnam. Today, I charge you with playing politics with the lives of our military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Worse, I accuse you of playing political football with the lives of Americans everywhere civilian and military as terrorism targets us all.
Of the almost 3,000 lives lost on September 11, 2001, on American soil, there were individuals from over ninety nations and almost all innocent civilians. We and our allies have experienced the horror of al-Qaeda trained terrorist on our homelands. I accuse you of playing politics with the safety and lives of all Americans and many of our allies.
Mr. President, you spoke of asking the hard questions. I say to you that it takes no courage to ask hard questions. Courage is demonstrated by making the correct hard decisions regardless of political repercussion. Last night you made what may be a great political speech. Last night you let America, our allies, and our military down and put us all at greater risk.