American Elephants

Will Obama Gut the Military? by The Elephant's Child

“I’ve fought for open, ethical and accountable government my whole public life.”

Obama’s Dishonest War. by The Elephant's Child
October 30, 2008, 11:13 pm
Filed under: Election 2008, Iraq, Military, Terrorism | Tags: ,

Back at the Saddleback Church debate, Obama was asked by Pastor Rick Warren what was the most gut-wrenching decision he ever had to make and what was the process he used to make it?

Obama said:

The opposition to the war in Iraq was as tough a decision that I’ve had to make, not only because there were political consequences but also because Saddam Hussein was a bad person and there was no doubt that he he meant America ill.  But I was firmly convinced at the time that we did not have strong evidence of weapons of mass destruction and do we know how the Shiites and the Sunnis and the Kurds are going to get along in a post-Saddam situation”  What’s our assessment as to how this will affect the battle against terrorists like Al-Qaeda?  Have we finished the job in Afghanistan? And now as the war went forward, very difficult about how long do you keep funding the war if you strongly believe that it’s not in our national interest.  At the same time you don’t want to have troops who are out there without the equipment they need.

This was not what he said when he opposed the war.  He opposed the war because he represented a district that was opposed to the war, and it had no political consequences for him whatsoever since he was only a member of the Illinois state legislature. But his story has changed more than once.

Conservatives and Liberals think differently about war, and do so as a result of their differing visions of life.

Conservatives believe that mankind is imperfect: partly good, partly evil, prone to selfishness, greed, bad temper, cheating, crime, cruelty as well as all the good things.  Because man is imperfect, we cannot expect perfection and must look for ways to modify bad behavior, and prevent crime. But because man is imperfect, it will be a constant struggle, and you will need a certain amount of stoical resignation.

Liberals believe that man is perfectible, and the right government, the right laws, the proper controls will fix things, and if they don’t, then you have to fix the government and the laws.  Man is born an empty slate and is formed by his environment and his government and laws.  If the world is not what it “should be” then you have to fix it, by putting the “right” people in charge.

Conservatives believe that war is a natural part of mankind arising from man’s imperfect nature. And that we must try to manage those impulses and try to prevent war, although there have always been wars. We must learn more about how to sustain peace.  It is a slow process.

Liberals believe that war is a matter of misunderstanding or paranoid emotions that override rationality.  They feel the need to explain war and crime, rather than prevent it.

When we were attacked on 9/11, George W. Bush understood that we were looking at a long war with a radical part of Islam that yearned for a return to the days of the Caliphate and the submission of the free world to the rule of Islam. That though it would begin with the terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, the war would not end there. He said:

Now this war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion.  It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago;, where no ground troops were used and not a single American life was lost in combat.

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes.  Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen.  It may include dramatic strikes visible on TV and covert operations secret even in success.

President Bush was looking ten years down the road and trying to see how to manage those “impulses.” Barack Obama, writing in the Hyde Park Herald a week after 9/11, presented the typical liberal response, trying to explain the “paranoid emotions:”

We must engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness.  The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers; an inability to imagine, or connect with the humanity or suffering of others.  Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion or ethnicity….Most often though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.

This was a fairly typical response among the leftist liberal intelligensia. Many university professors penned similar paragraphs, and the farther left, the more similarity.

Former Ambassador Peter Galbraith has written that:

Along with Cambodia’s Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein’s regime was one of the two most cruel and inhumane regimes in the second half of the twentieth century.  Using the definition of genocide specified in the 1948 Genocide Convention, Iraq’s Baath regime can be charged with planning and executing two genocides — one against the Kurdish population in the late 1980s and another against the Marsh Arabs in the 1990s.

Yet Senator Obama continued to oppose the war to liberate Iraq, despite the fact that the U.S, had amassed a coalition of more than two dozen nations that committed troops to the war and had won unanimous approval for the UN’s Resolution 1441.

Once we were in Iraq, Sen. Obama did everything that he could, including voting against funding for the troops, to block efforts to win the war.  He insisted that the surge was failing long after it was clearly making progress, and he promoted a plan that would have withdrawn all troops by March 2008, which would probably have led to another genocide.

Senator Barack Obama was perfectly willing to lose the War in Iraq. There were obvious immediate consequences. But there are also long-term consequences for losing a war, as any examination of the history of the Vietnam War would demonstrate.  We are still seeing the consequences of Congress’ withdrawal of funds just when we were on the verge of winning that war.

Senator Obama seems to have the childish idea that the purpose of our whole effort should have been to get revenge on one man, Osama bin Laden.  This shows a profound misunderstanding of the history, the intelligence, the Middle East and America’s place in the world.

The Iraq war did not go smoothly.  Wars don’t.  A war is not a one-sided operation.  The other side gets a vote, and in this case there was more than one “other side”. There were bad decisions, and poor intelligence and a terrorist war that we had to learn how to fight.  Was it important? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes.  Is Barack Obama prepared to be Commander in Chief? Not if you care about your country.

Why is Barack Obama running against George Bush? Because he has no record of his own. by The Elephant's Child

Every Democrat speech includes the obligatory phrase “eight years of failed Bush policies.” This is the old “big lie” technique of propaganda. You repeat something often enough, and people will start to believe it. New York’s senior senator Charles Schumer, chairman of the senate Democratic Campaign Committee, has been in front of every available camera and microphone for the last eight years, bloviating on the “terrible economy”, at least until he caused a bank run and got caught at it.

But what are these “failed Bush policies?” Let’s consider the history. The Clinton administration benefited from a technology boom that became a bubble. The stock market peaked and by the end of 2000 had declined by 8%, and GDP declined from 4.8 to 1.9 percent. Six weeks into the Bush administration the economy was officially in recession.

On the national security front, Saddam Hussein had kicked the weapons inspectors out of Iraq, and was in complete defiance of UN resolutions that he was obligated to obey. His military had fired at US Air Force planes that were patrolling the ‘no-fly’ zones. The US Cole had been attacked in 2000 by Islamists, killing 17 American sailors.

Then on September 11, 2001, just eight months after George W. Bush took office, Islamic terrorists attacked, killing nearly 3,000 civilians and brought down the twin towers and destroyed part of the Pentagon. Not an auspicious start for an administration.

By November the recession was officially over, and the economy never looked back. Under a Republican Congress and a Republican President the economy has grown at a healthy and sustainable pace every year until 2008, with unemployment averaging 5.2%, which is considered good.

Inflation-adjusted personal disposable income grew by 9% in the first six years under President Bush.  The real economy grew by about 20% since the President took office.

Imagine, this was an economy battered by the attacks of 9/11, battered by the devastation of Katrina, and in spite of it all it just chugs along. The Bush tax cuts helped greatly.  They raised the threshold so that way more people owed no taxes at all, and reduced the rates for everyone else, increasing the number of brackets from five to six.  The tax brackets are available here.  Please find the vast tax cuts for “the rich” that were somehow so unfair. Another example of the “big lie” technique in operation. The United States has the most progressive tax system in the world, and collects more income from the top 10 percent than any other country.

Though no one expected it at the time, President Bush has managed to keep us safe here at home for 7 years, while Islamist terrorists were attacking other countries, and attempting to attack us here.  Took a lot of vigilance to accomplish that.

If you look a little deeper than the bumper-sticker slogans from the Democrats, you will find that Guantanamo has been a model prison where no one except the guards was abused.  You will find that no one had any interest in listening to your telephone conversations unless you were chatting with someone in the mountains of Pakistan.  You will find that American troops were restoring schools, rebuilding water supplies, fixing power stations as well as trying to protect Iraqi civilians.

It does require a little effort to find sources like the Long War Journal or learn which reporters can be trusted, or how to find the Milblogs.  It is easier to simply repeat the daily sound bite.

It has been a great disappointment that President Bush has been unable to break through the mainstream media spin. He feels that history will justify him. I agree that it will.  He’s done a pretty darn good job.

Did you need a reason? Here’s a very good one. by The Elephant's Child

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