Filed under: Iraq, National Security, The United States | Tags: Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Iraq
Two days after admitting that he did not yet have “a complete strategy” for dealing with the ISIS terrorists estimated as an army of 30,000, President Obama has dispatched another 450 U.S. advisers to train Iraqis troops to do the fighting. It appears that trainers will outnumber trainees. There will be a total of 3,500 American trainers, about 950 more than Iraqi troops.
Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, said the modest troop increase came as a result of “a very regular process of evaluation” not from any perceived public pressure to do something, after a long string of ISIS advances.
We are told by military sources that what is needed are Special Forces to provide intelligence and spotters to direct American aircraft. The lack of on-the-ground information and a restrained target approval process related to White House rules of engagement, 75% of all allied air attacks now return without dropping their ordnance.
Seventeen months ago Obama described ISIS as a JV team. Ten months ago he said he had no strategy. After the hideous beheading of an American, Obama announced the current ‘strategy’ of no combat forces, bombings or troop training. You have to remember that he told military academy graduates that global warming, not terrorism, was the most serious threat to America. Here’s the history, do watch till the end (Funniest mashup ever!)
Israel Hayom caught up with former President George W. Bush for an exclusive interview — on Friday. He said “There is only one thing that I really miss about being president, and that’s being the commander-in-chief. I admire our military a lot,” he told Israel Hayom, his eyes twinkling. “When you are the commander-in-chief at a time when I was, when you put them into a lot of combat situations, you develop a special bond, not only with the military but with their families.”
The war snuck up on then-President Bush with the al-Qaida attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In his book he says that the week of the attacks was the key to understanding his entire presidency. He writes that he poured his heart and soul into defending the country, “by any means necessary.”
To us he says that no one prepared him for becoming a “two-war president” but reality supplied him with a lot of challenges in the White House. He says he had to make very difficult decisions — sending boys to defend the homeland with the knowledge that not all of them would return.
President Bush was asked “Is the war on terror currently being waged in the proper way? He responded:
“I made a decision, as you know, not to criticize my successors, with an s. I am going to be around a little bit longer — there is going to be more than one successor. The temptation is to try to rewrite history or to make yourself look good by criticizing someone else. I think that is a mistake. I don’t think that is what leadership is all about. I know how hard the job is. I didn’t like it when former leaders criticized me when I was president. Some did, so I decided not to do the same.”
Q: You mentioned ISIS, you spoke about defeating terror. Is it possible to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq without boots on the ground?
“The president will have to make that determination. My position was that you need to have boots on the ground. As you know, I made a very difficult decision. A fair number of people in our country were saying that it was impossible to defeat al-Qaida — which is ISIS as far as I am concerned. They said I must get out of Iraq. But I chose the opposite — I sent 30,000 more troops as opposed to 30,000 fewer. I think history will show that al-Qaida in Iraq was defeated. And so I chose the path of boots on the ground. We will see whether or not our government adjusts to the realities on the ground.”
This has already translated into the idea that Mr. Bush said we needed boots on the ground. He said that was up to the president. When it was his job to decide his position was that you needed boots on the ground.
It is a long and very interesting interview, do read the whole thing. He steadfastly resisted any comments or criticism of his successor, but talked about what he himself did and why. He said:
In my post-presidency I have written a book, and that has helped a lot. I wrote another book. It is brand new. It is about an extraordinary man — my father. It will be a very historical document because never has a son of a president written about the president. So the paintings are along these lines.
“I read Winston Churchill’s essay ‘Painting as a Pastime,’ and it is a really interesting essay. I started looking at Churchill’s paintings and I said ‘wow, I can do this.’
There is so much in the interview that is charmingly Bush, that I wanted to include it all. You will have to read it for yourself.
Filed under: Afghanistan, Foreign Policy, Freedom, History, Intelligence, Iraq, Islam, Military, National Security, The United States | Tags: George W. Bush, Leaving Iraq, Understanding War
President Bush was afraid of what might develop, and tried to warn us. Obama was quite sure that he knew better — that in ending the War in Iraq, he had established his legacy. He was sure that we could just talk any dissidents out of their disagreeable intentions. See Klavan and Whittle below.
Democrats just have a hard time getting their minds around war and what it means. I keep some pictures of frightened refugees fleeing in terror before the oncoming Russian army, with their horse-drawn carts, or wheelbarrows full of their worldly goods — stuck in my mind. If we are not strong — this is what could happen. I don’t think that’s paranoid, but just facing up to the reality of human nature. If ordinary happy families can’t get along, there’s not much hope for permanence of peace among nations.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Europe, Foreign Policy, Iran, Law, National Security, The United States | Tags: George W. Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. Foreign Policy
Daniel Henninger began his column in the Wall Street Journal today thusly:
By the time the second World Trade Center tower collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, the whole world was watching it. We may assume that Vladimir Putin was watching. Mr. Putin, a quick calculator of political realities, would see that someone was going to get hit for this, and hit hard.
He was right of course. The Bush presidency became a war presidency that day, and it pounded and pursued the Islamic fundamentalists of al Qaeda without let-up or apology.
During that time, it was reported that Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer in East Germany, deeply regretted the fall of the Soviet Union’s empire and despised the Americans who caused it to fall. But no one cared what Mr. Putin thought then.
Mark Steyn added:
That’s true. A couple of days after September 11th, the Bush Administration called Moscow and demanded the Russians agree to letting the US use military bases in former Soviet Central Asia for their planned invasion of Afghanistan. That must have been quite a phone call. Washington was proposing not only to do to the Afghans what the Kremlin has so abysmally failed to do, but to do it out of the Russians’ old bases. And yet Moscow understood that, for once, America was serious. And so, presented with a fait accomplis, they agreed to it.
Back to today, Daniel Henninger again:
Sometimes world affairs go off the grid. Diplomats may give reasons why it is not in the interests of Mr. Putin or Russia to take this course. Vice President Biden told the Poles in Warsaw Monday that Mr. Putin’s seizure of Crimea was “flawed logic.” It is difficult for men embedded in a world of rational affairs to come to grips with Mr. Putin’s point of view: He doesn’t care what they think.
And everything Obama does confirms to Putin that the Crimea is his, so why stop there. So Putin will roll on, reassembling the Russian Empire. The Obama Administration pursues its own foreign policy priorities:
Secretary Kerry says the U.S. will send scientists to discuss homosexuality with the President of Uganda.
National Security Advisor Susan Rice wants to take affirmative action in the legal sense on behalf of women. The post of U.S. ambassador to Russia has been vacant for three weeks. Al Kamen of the Washington Post says Ms. Rice would like to place a woman in Moscow. It was rumored that White House press secretary Jay Carney who once worked in Moscow for Time magazine wanted the job of ambassador.
Russian forces invade the Ukraine Naval Base. President Obama reveals his “Final Four” picks. Joe Biden is in Eastern Europe conferring with our allies there, and trying to convince them that we are serious.
Conservatives who note the stark difference between Obama’s domestic legally questionable hardball and his passive international posture must wonder whether Obama behaves as he does because he is naive or just because he wants the U.S. to have less say in the world. His stated foreign policy objectives are to keep the U.S. out of war and transform America’s image from that of unilateralist bully to a nation that plays well with others.
The trouble is that under Obama the U.S. does not play well with others. Obama’s view of the world is extraordinarily naive, as is the substance and the style of his foreign policy.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Freedom, Iraq, Military, Politics | Tags: Accomplishments, George W. Bush, President Obama, V.P. Joe Biden
And I’m sure you remember Senator Joe Biden who insisted that it was necessary to divide Iraq into three parts to end the sectarian violence there.
Last night Vice President Joe Biden appeared on the Larry King show. Here’s how he explained it to Larry:
I am very optimistic about — about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You’re going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You’re going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government.
I spent — I’ve been there 17 times now. I go about every two months — three months. I know every one of the major players in all the segments of that society. It’s impressed me. I’ve been impressed how they have been deciding to use the political process rather than guns to settle their differences.
So there you go. The Obama administration has some achievements after all.
Filed under: Election 2008, Iraq, Military, Terrorism | Tags: George W. Bush, The Consequences of War
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?
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.
Filed under: Conservatism, Economy, Election 2008, Foreign Policy, History, Liberalism, Politics, Terrorism, Uncategorized | Tags: George W. Bush, Liberal lies
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.