American Elephants


There’s More To “The Peace Process” Than Meets The Eye. by The Elephant's Child
May 19, 2009, 11:03 pm
Filed under: Israel, Middle East | Tags:


President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met yesterday for talks. Obama emphasized the famed “Two State Solution”, that has been suggested, pressured, insisted on for years and years. The pressure is all on Israel, since there really isn’t a Palestinian government with which to negotiate. It is split between Fatah and Hamas who are busy killing each other when they are not lobbing rockets into Israel. Fatah is weak and has no authority to negotiate, and Hamas is simply a terrorist enterprise invested in war.

For Israel and her neighbors the primary problem is Iran. Iran’s push for a nuclear arsenal, support for Hamas and Hezbollah and meddling in Iraq are threatening, and their interest is in curbing Iran’s power. Iran is threatening to foment Islamist unrest that threatens the governments in Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

For Washington, emphasis is on “the peace process.” Although Obama has great faith in “negotiations” with Iran, he suggested for the first time that those negotiations are not open-ended, and that “we’re not going to have talks forever.” But words, in the mouth of this president, often have changing meanings.

It is disappointing that Washington seems to have so little interest in the real problems.



A fortnight is 14 days, two weeks. Not very long at all. by The Elephant's Child
February 4, 2009, 2:38 am
Filed under: Foreign Policy, History, News, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

Months before his election, Mr. Obama apparently started to cultivate improved relations with the mullahs of Iran.  A senior campaign adviser, former Clinton administration Defense Secretary William Perry met repeatedly with a representative of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (The Holocaust-denying, genocide supporting “gentleman”).

According to Frank Gafney Jr., president of the Center for Security Policy, Obama’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke has hired as a senior adviser Professor Vali Reza Nasr — an Iranian expatriate with a record of shilling for the Islamic Revolutionary Iranian regime.

According to GeostrategyDirect.com, a newsletter published by The Washington Times national security reporter Bill Gertz:

“Diplomatic sources said that Barack Obama has engaged several Arab intermediaries to relay messages to and from as Qaeda in the months before his election as the 44th U.S. President.  The sources said al Qaeda has offered what they termed a truce in exchange for a U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.  ‘For the last few months, Obama has been receiving and sending feelers to those close to al Qaeda on whether the group would end its terrorist campaign against the United States,’ a diplomatic source said. ‘Obama sees this as helpful to his plans to essentially withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq during his first term in office.’”

President Obama’s first post-inaugural interview was with Al Arabiya, a Saudi-owned network.  He said he was determined to “restore” the “same respect and partnership America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago.”

Shades of the Dixie Chicks.  Charles Krauthammer pointed out that over the past 20 years:

America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them. … It is both false and injurious to this country to draw a historical line dividing America under Obama from a benighted past when Islam was supposedly disrespected and demonized.

It’s unclear just what President Obama hopes to accomplish with his ‘good intentions.’ Islamists are not alone in interpreting it as weakness.



…and the World Will Love Us Again! by American Elephant

Or maybe not…

Hardline demonstrators burn posters of U.S. President-elect ...

A hardline demonstrator leaves after pouring kerosene on posters ...

Hardline demonstrators watch as a poster of U.S. President-elect ...

“Hardline demonstrators burn posters of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, during a demonstration in support of the people of Gaza, in front of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran January 13, 2009.” Reuters

Notice that when they were protesting President Bush, they were simply “protesters” or “Iranians”, when they protest Obama, however, they are “hardline” protesters.  Feel the love.

(h/t Michelle Malkin)



Preconditions, diplomacy and complications. by The Elephant's Child
October 22, 2008, 6:21 pm
Filed under: Election 2008, Liberalism, Military, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

In an earlier campaign debate, Barack Obama chastised George W. Bush for not meeting with the leaders of enemy countries, and said that he was willing to meet with Ahmadinejad, Chavez or any of the others without preconditions.  He repeated that several times, but lately he has changed the wording a bit.  He said that he didn’t say he would meet with them without “preparation,” of course he would need preparation, just not “preconditions.”  He meant to differentiate between himself and John McCain who rejects unconditional talks with Iran, and get in a good dig at George Bush while he was at it.

Meanwhile, the issue has been widely discussed in Iran.  Reporters from the state news agency asked a high-ranking official for his views on talks with the United States.  It seems that Iran has it’s own “preconditions” and a summit meeting is probably not in the cards any time soon.

The Vice President for Media Affairs, Mehdi Kalhor, said that the U.S. must do two things before summit talks can take place.  First, American military forces must leave the Middle East.  Second, the U.S. must end its support for Israel.  Until the United States does both things, talks are not on the agenda.

So that lets Obama off the hook, with some embarrassment, but doesn’t go very far towards solving the problem of Iran.  If Mr. Obama wins the election, he may find that solving it is quite a bit more complicated than talking to Iran without “preconditions.”



The Passing of the Spatula by American Elephant

Welcome Michelle Malkin and Ed Driscoll Readers!!

Mr. Good Judgment himself, the man in the bunny suit, also known as Senator John “I voted for the war before I voted against it” Kerry, yesterday reassured concerned Americans that he is still a world-class flip-flopper by declaring that the man he repeatedly begged to be his running mate lacks the judgment to be president.

Remember, this is the man whose service John McCain defended in the 2004 campaign.

Nonetheless, shilling for Barack Obama, the former Democrat presidential candidate, and eternal loser (who by the way served in Vietnam and has yet to release his full military records), said that John McCain, “has proven that he has been wrong about every judgment he’s made about the war.”

Oh really?

Back in the 2006 election cycle, when John Kerry, Barack Obama and the Democrat party were calling for an, up to then, undefined “change” in Iraq policy — which later turned out to mean unconditional surrender of Iraq to insurgents, terrorists and Iran — John McCain had long been supporting troop increases. A policy that Obama not only opposed, but insisted would never work. A policy that even the liberal press is being forced to admit, has been tremendously successful, and has turned out to be exactly the right strategic decision.

John McCain had exactly the right judgment. If we had followed Barack Obama’s “judgment,” the United States military would have cut and run, and Iraq today would be aflame with genocide and civil/regional war between insurgents, al Qaeda, former Ba’athists and Iran all vying for control of the world’s second largest oil supply.

It’s no wonder Obama has announced that he is “refining” his position. If he’s smart, he’ll go back to his 2004 position when he said he wouldn’t do anything differently than President Bush is doing — because President Bush, like John McCain, is right.

So, it is fitting that Mr. Kerry should be one of Obama’s biggest campaigners. The spatula has passed from one world-class flip-flopper to another. Indeed, not only does Obama seem absolutely determined to out-flop his political predecessor, but even before he has officially clinched the nomination it appears he has already done so.

It’s not just Iraq, although it is major, since the centerpiece of his campaign has been his supposed judgement on Iraq, opposition to the surge, and promises to immediately withdraw — it’s hard to find find an issue on which Obama hasn’t drastically contradicted himself. Some examples:

  1. Campaign Finance: Obama pledged, verbally and in writing, to take part in the federal campaign financing, that is until it became clear he was rolling in money. Then he claimed that the system, which has not changed since he made the pledge, was broken, and that he was going back on his promise because of as yet non-existent Republican 527 attack ads. In reality, the only attack ads thus far have been waged against McCain by the Democrat 527, MoveOn.org.
  2. NAFTA: During the primary, Obama appealed to his isolationist base by decrying NAFTA and promising, if necessary, unilateral renegotiation. It has since come out that his staff were simultaneously telling Canadian officials not to worry, that Obama was just playing politics and had no intention of following through. Indeed, he admitted as much in an interview, explaining that, “sometimes during campaigns rhetoric gets overheated and amplified.”
  3. Gay Marriage: Obama has claimed that he opposes gay marriage while his wife was simultaneously reassuring gay groups that her husband would repeal DOMA and opposed any federal measures to “discriminate” against gay relationships. Barack has since made clear that he supports the California Supreme Court’s decision, opposes citizen efforts to overturn it, and has come out in favor of full federal recognition of all legally recognized relationships.
  4. Second Amendment: This year Obama praises the Supreme Court’s decision declaring the Washington DC gun ban unconstitutional: last year his campaign assured Democrat voters the Senator believed the ban was entirely constitutional. Just a few months ago he disparaged voters who “cling” to their guns.
  5. Wiretaps: Obama previously assured his deranged base that he would support any filibuster of attempts to protect telephone companies from lawsuits over their cooperation with the government’s warantless wiretaps. Now Obama defends the law congress just passed which does precisely that.
  6. Iran: Obama was widely criticized as naïve for his declaration that America should meet unconditionally with the leaders of Iran, including by Hillary Clinton and other members of his own party. Unsurprizingly, this is another position he has also “refined.” Indeed, the man whose judgment John Kerry extolls can’t even seem to make up his mind whether Iran poses a threat or not.
  7. Patriotism: Again pandering to his America-loathing base, Obama once refused to wear a flag pin on his lapel and disparaged those who did, claiming it was a “substitute for… true patriotism.” Now, not only is Obama not to be seen without his own “substitute” for patriotism prominently displayed on his chest, but routinely wraps himself in up to 40 American flags at once among other purportedly “patriotic” symbols of his own invention.
  8. His Reverend, mentor and spiritual adviser Jeremiah Wright: The Reverend and church he could no more denounce than he could denounce the black community? Obama denounced them.
  9. Special Interests: Obama often criticized both Hillary and John Edwards for taking money from unions which he described as “special interests.” But now that he is accepting union endorsements, and money, “He now refers respectfully to unions as the representatives of ‘working people’ and says he is ‘thrilled’ by their support.
  10. Cuba: Told Democrat voters in 2004 that it was time to end the Cuba embargo, but assured Cuban-Americans in Florida last August that he would not, “take off the embargo” because it is “an important inducement for change.”
  11. Illegal Immigration: Obama, I’m sure you are by now unfazed to hear, has said both that he would and would not “crack down” on employers who hire illegal immigrants.
  12. Marijuana: The candidate for “change” has also changed his position on the criminalization of marijuana, telling college students he would support decriminalizing pot, and opposing the decriminalization of pot when confronted in a Democrat primary debate.
  13. Abortion: Contradicting his own 100% rating from NARAL, and his vote against the ban on partial birth abortion, Obama has softened, if only slightly, his position on abortion, declaring that “mental distress” shouldn’t count as an exception that would allow partial birth abortion. Well, I suppose he can always favor an exception for “severe mental distress,” since it is clear his campaign has become all about weasel words.

It’s becoming clear what Obama means when he promises “change”, its not political change — he is merely promising to change his position depending on what is most politically expedient for Barack Obama.

All this before the primary campaign has even officially begun! It’s no wonder Obama has Kerry out touting his “judgment”, he’s probably one of the few people on planet Earth that could do it with a straight, albeit very long, face.



El Baradei Will Resign if Iran Attacked. Oh, and By the Way, Iran Could have Nukes in 6 Months by American Elephant

You may have seen the news on Friday that the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamad ElBaradei, warned that he will resign if Iran is attacked. (This is supposed to be a deterrent?)

One teeny tiny little detail the mainstream media neglected to report, however, is that ElBaradei also said Iran could have a nuclear weapon in as little as 6 months. (h/t lgf)

Most people, I think, would consider the latter ever so slightly more newsworthy than the former. Call me crazy.

Then there’s the New York Times ongoing effort to reveal every national security secret they possibly can.

Both of which beg the question, how far does the media have to go before bias becomes duplicity, subversion and treason?



The Man Obama Wants to Talk To by American Elephant

Amadenijad

…has just announced that Isreal will soon die and disappear.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted on Monday that Muslims would uproot “satanic powers” and repeated his controversial belief that Israel will soon disappear, the Mehr news agency reported. “I must announce that the Zionist regime (Israel), with a 60-year record of genocide, plunder, invasion and betrayal is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene,” he said.

“Today, the time for the fall of the satanic power of the United States has come and the countdown to the annihilation of the emperor of power and wealth has started.”

Since taking the presidency in August 2005, Ahmadinejad has repeatedly provoked international outrage by predicting Israel is doomed to disappear.

“I tell you that with the unity and awareness of all the Islamic countries all the satanic powers will soon be destroyed,” he said to a group of foreign visitors ahead of the 19th anniversary of the death of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Yes, by all means Senator Obama, legitimize this crackpot terrorist by offering him unconditional meetings with the leader of the free world. Brilliant!

Barack Obama — useful idiot.

Meanwhile, John McCain absolutely slammed Obama on Iran in front of AIPAC:

“It’s hard to see what such a summit with President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad would actually gain, except an earful of anti-Semitic rants, and a worldwide audience for a man who denies one Holocaust and talks before frenzied crowds about starting another,” McCain told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

He criticized Obama for seeming to suggest that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear program because the U.S. refuses to engage in presidential-level talks. McCain said the Clinton administration in particular tried to engage Iran for two years, even lifting some sanctions, to no avail.

“Even so, we hear talk of a meeting with the Iranian leadership offered up as if it were some sudden inspiration, a bold new idea that somehow nobody has ever thought of before,” McCain said as dozens in the audience laughed.

You can read the entire speech here.
 



Educating Obama by The Elephant's Child

Barack Obama

Barack Obama has entranced Americans with his ability to inspire an audience. He is the finest orator in recent memory. It’s when he doesn’t have a teleprompter that things get a little dicey. Which may be the reason for his refusal to debate in South Carolina in favor of town hall style meetings.

“Yes, We Can”, and “We are the change that we seek”, in that resonant voice, are magical phrases that promise, well, something swell anyway.

But the primary responsibility of a president is not oratory, although that can help, it is the foreign policy and security of America. Obama has, perhaps with appreciation for his own speech-making ability, promised to talk to almost everybody. He wants to speak to a summit of Muslim nations, to find out what is bothering them. The thing is, he seems a little confused about what we are doing and what we have done.

Michael Ledeen points out that “Senator Barack Obama wants to talk to our Middle Eastern enemies, notably Iran. He can’t imagine a happy resolution of the war without such talks. And he seems to think this desire is something new, maybe even revolutionary.”

He apparently does not know that it is not at all new, and certainly not revolutionary. It is instead the fully tested “policy” of the United States for the past thirty years, ever since the seizure of power by the mullahs in 1979. We have had high-level and low-level talks, public and private talks, talks conducted by diplomats, by spooks, and by a colorful array of intermediaries ranging from former Spanish President Felipe Gonzales to nephews of Rafsanjani, Iranian-American businessmen, former NSC and CIA members, and others with more dubious qualifications.

All failed. [Read the whole thing]

Obama has said that “foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain”. That experience, apparently, comes from living in Indonesia for four years when he was in the early years of grade school. Knowing the leaders, he asserted, is not important. I’m not clear on this. Because you negotiate with…?

He also believes that al Qaeda was not in Iraq until we invaded, that we shouldn’t be in Iraq because al Qaeda is only in Afghanistan. Never mind that al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is called that because they are in Mesopotamia — Iraq. He’s said he would invade Pakistan in pursuit of Osama bin Laden, although we cannot cross the border into Pakistan, particularly now when there is such unrest in Pakistan. He believes that the Sunni Anbar Awakening occurred only because of the “Surge”, though it was well advanced before the surge began. And that there was no military solution to the conflict between Sunni and Shi’ia factions.

In South America, Columbia is a solid ally that has made great progress, yet is facing terrorism from Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela and Ecuadorian Marxist leader Evo Morales. Obama opposes a free trade agreement with Columbia to please U.S. unions who are big donors. He also wants to “re-negotiate” the NAFTA treaties with our closest allies and neighbors — also a union demand.

It is encouraging that Obama is confident about his foreign policy abilities. I wish I were.



A Movie Hollywood Won’t Make, and Liberals Won’t Watch by American Elephant

And one people should see. Especially liberals — if only they’d pull their heads out of the sand long enough.

This is the highly anticipated “Fitna”, a short-film (15 minutes) from Dutch politician Geert Wilders. As you may recall, the Netherlands has been besieged by violence from Islamic fundamentalists angry over cartoon depictions of Mohammad and criticism of Islam. This is his answer. He describes it as “a call to shake off the creeping tyranny of Islamization.”

YouTube cuts the film into two parts. Keep in mind, “Fitna” addresses Islamic fundamentalism and as such shows graphic violence. Powerful. Do watch.



While your attention was elsewhere, there were some good things happening in Iraq. by The Elephant's Child

Iraq’s leading Shi’a cleric, the Grand Ayatolla Ali Sistani, on Tuesday issued a call to his followers. He banned the spilling of Iraqi blood — especially of the Sunnis, and called on the Shiites to protect their brother Sunnis. “I am a servant of all Iraqis, there is no difference between a Sunni, a Shiite or a Kurd or a Christian,” the Ayatolla Sistani was quoted as saying during a meeting with a delegation of Sunni clerics from southern and northern Iraq.

Among the Islamic world’s Shi’a the Grand Ayatollah Sistani is seen as a direct competitor to Iran’s revolutionary and radical Ayatollah Khomeni. In contrast to Khomeni, Sistani sees possibility for a separation between mosque and government and room for democratic governance without theological conflict. Sistani’s support spreads beyond the borders of Iraq into Iran.

These are very promising developments. Did you hear about them?

Michael Yon reported earlier this month (reprinted at Belmont Club) on Christians and Muslims of Iraq placing a cross atop the newly re-opened St. John’s Church in Baghdad. They had retrieved the cross from storage and washed it carefully before carrying it up to the dome. Michael Yon wrote:

The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people, “Thank you, thank you,” the people were saying. One man said, “Thank you for peace.” Another man, a Muslim, said, “All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian is brother.” The men and the women were holding bells, and for the first time in memory , freedom rang over the land between two rivers.

A lovely little story.  Did you read about it?

On October 29, Michael Totten posted a story about Iraqi Army officers in Besmaya  who raised a thousand dollars in donations for victims of the devastating fires in San Diego. A thousand dollars is a lot of money in Iraq. The average salary is only a few hundred dollars a month. This is a moment when the old saying “it’s the thought that counts” is really applicable.  (More..)  A moving account.  Did you hear about it?

These are small stories, underreported, or not reported because they don’t show the war in the necessary bad light, nor do they reflect badly on the administration–a necessary direction, it seems, for reporters who prefer spinning to reporting. It makes you want to weep, but there really are good stories out there…



Top Democrat Blasts Democrat Party Over Partisan-Driven Foreign Policy by American Elephant

Senator Joe Lieberman

Says Democrats are betraying principles, poisoning politics, and undermining America’s interests for partisan gain.

The man the Democrat party so respected and admired that they made him their Vice-Presidential nominee just a few short years ago, has leveled a scathing rebuke at the Democrat party for abandoning the principles of Truman, Roosevelt and Kennedy, betraying America’s interests and poisoning the American political atmosphere for political gain. He has blasted the Democrat base for their hate-driven “paranoia…delusion and deception.”…

In other words Senator Lieberman (who was overwhelmingly re-elected by his home state of Connecticut despite an attempt by radical leftists to throw him out) has admitted what all Republicans and thinking-independents have known for a long time — Democrats intentionally changed their position on Iraq for partisan gain when the going got tough and have since done everything in their power to undermine the war effort and tear apart the country for their own political gain:

“Since retaking Congress in November 2006, the top foreign policy priority of the Democratic Party has not been to expand the size of our military for the war on terror or to strengthen our democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East or to prevail in Afghanistan. It has been to pull our troops out of Iraq, to abandon the democratically-elected government there, and to hand a defeat to President Bush.

Iraq has become the singular litmus test for Democratic candidates. No Democratic presidential primary candidate today speaks of America’s moral or strategic responsibility to stand with the Iraqi people against the totalitarian forces of radical Islam, or of the consequences of handing a victory in Iraq to Al Qaeda and Iran. And if they did, their campaign would be as unsuccessful as mine was in 2006. Even as evidence has mounted that General Petraeus’ new counterinsurgency strategy is succeeding, Democrats have remained emotionally invested in a narrative of defeat and retreat in Iraq, reluctant to acknowledge the progress we are now achieving, or even that that progress has enabled us to begin drawing down our troops there.

Part of the explanation for this, I think, comes back to ideology. For all of our efforts in the 1990s to rehabilitate a strong Democratic foreign policy tradition, anti-war sentiment remains the dominant galvanizing force among a significant segment of the Democratic base.

But another reason for the Democratic flip-flop on foreign policy over the past few years is less substantive. For many Democrats, the guiding conviction in foreign policy isn’t pacifism or isolationism—it is distrust and disdain of Republicans in general, and President Bush in particular.

In this regard, the Democratic foreign policy worldview has become defined by the same reflexive, blind opposition to the President that defined Republicans in the 1990s – even when it means repudiating the very principles and policies that Democrats as a party have stood for, at our best and strongest…

First, several left-wing blogs seized upon the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, offering wild conspiracy theories about how it could be used to authorize the use of military force against Iran.

These were absurd arguments. The text of our amendment contained nothing—nothing—that could be construed as a green light for an attack on Iran. To claim that it did was an act of delusion or deception.

On the contrary, by calling for tougher sanctions on Iran, the intention of our amendment was to offer an alternative to war.

Nonetheless, the conspiracy theories started to spread. Although the Senate passed our amendment, 76-22, several Democrats, including some of the Democratic presidential candidates, soon began attacking it — and Senator Clinton, who voted for the amendment. In fact, some of the very same Democrats who had cosponsored the legislation in the spring, urging the designation of the IRGC, began denouncing our amendment for doing the exact same thing…

there is something profoundly wrong—something that should trouble all of us—when we have elected Democratic officials who seem more worried about how the Bush administration might respond to Iran’s murder of our troops, than about the fact that Iran is murdering our troops.

There is likewise something profoundly wrong when we see candidates who are willing to pander to this politically paranoid, hyper-partisan sentiment in the Democratic base—even if it sends a message of weakness and division to the Iranian regime.

For me, this episode reinforces how far the Democratic Party of 2007 has strayed from the Democratic Party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and the Clinton-Gore administration.

That is why I call myself an Independent Democrat today. It is because my foreign policy convictions are the convictions that have traditionally animated the Democratic Party—but they exist in me today independent of the current Democratic Party, which has largely repudiated them.” [read more] Continue reading



Terrorism and Communism: Myth or reality? by The Elephant's Child
November 8, 2007, 8:16 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy | Tags: , , , , , ,

Communism

In spite of 9/11, the first World Trade Center attack, Khobar Towers, the Cole, the London Subway bombers, the Madrid bombers, and dozens of attacks across the world there are still people out there who feel that we have an “inordinate fear of terrorism”, just as Jimmy Carter once accused of an “inordinate fear of Communism”.

Randall Hoven, writing at the American Thinker, takes on the inordinate fear of Communism and clarifies some of the myths and realities of the Cold War.

“To many people today, “communism” is just an old bugaboo–something crazy people used to fear some 50 years ago.  Crazy people like Joe McCarthy.  Or crazy people like John Nash in the movie A Beautiful Mind.  In that movie, Nash’s insanity was manifested in the belief that communists were spying on him.  (The real-life Nash’s schizophrenic hallucinations were of the more garden variety “space alien” type)  Hollywood has given us several films about the bad old days of the Cold War, from The Front and The Way We Were to The Majestic and Good Night, And Good Luck. “

Read the whole thing.




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