American Elephants


Not exactly a foreign policy you can believe in… by The Elephant's Child

There’s a perennially popular genre of literature which might be called “Kids Say the Darnedest Things”. Small children, in all innocence, give charming answers to questions because they know so little.

Another version is based on the answers that college students write on exam questions. These are more often hilarious in their utter stupidity. The entire genre is based on the fact that we, as educated adults, know the subject well, and they, groping for an answer to a question on which they are poorly informed, make silly mistakes. It is usually enough to remind any adult that a simple “I don’t know” is a wise answer.

There are degrees of knowing about any subject ranging from superficial to mastery, and those who reach true mastery recognize that there is always more to learn. But as the old saying goes: “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”.

Which brings me to Barack Obama’s op-ed in the New York Times.

The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.

Must have seemed like a gift when some news reports claimed that Maliki had called for a timetable for removal of American troops. Obama’s insistence on removing troops was becoming increasingly untenable. He’d just removed all his previous statements on the surge from his website, assuming that voters were unfamiliar with Google.

Unfortunately, that’s not what Maliki said.

The BBC reports that in an audio recording of his speech he did not use the word “withdrawal”. Elections are coming, and Maliki’s speech was directed to that audience. Some Iraqis are anxious for us to leave: Some are fearful that we will not be patient enough with them to allow them enough time to learn how to be a democracy. A US official close to the talks with the Iraqi government said “the troops will leave when the Iraqis are ready to take over. …It is politics — how you package it, how you sell it to your people. They want our support, but they also want to show that there’s progress towards sovereignty.” Obama goes on:

Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country. Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government. They call any timetable for the removal of American troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government.

But this is not a strategy for success — it is a strategy for staying that runs contrary to the will of the Iraqi people, the American people and the security interests of the United States. That is why, on my first day in office.I would give the military a new mission; ending this war.

Sigh. If Obama had been paying attention and keeping informed, he would be aware of the recommended force reductions and mission shift broadcast by General Petraeus during his testimony to Congress in September of 2007. And he might be aware that all of the important benchmarks have been met.

In San Diego, Obama argued that “just because Sen. John McCain had made multiple visits to Iraq, that does not mean that he has the correct perspective on the region”. Well, at least McCain is well informed.

Obama also remarked earlier that he knew more about foreign policy than Senator McCain or George W. Bush because he had lived in Indonesia (from age 6 to age 10).

Obama is still trying to validate his big moment when he opposed the Iraq War while he was still in the Illinois legislature, which endears him to the anti-war crowd. He didn’t understand the reasons for going into Iraq. He didn’t understand the reasons for the surge. He doesn’t grasp the nature of Islamic jihad. And he has apparently never studied a map of the region. Along with announcing how many brigades he’s going to move around, he’s now attempting to push the tired old Democrat spin that the real war is only in Afghanistan in pursuit of bin Laden.

I find this endlessly fascinating. How do the Democrats do it? Do they all get together in a meeting and someone says — “I know, let’s say that the war isn’t in Iraq, that we’re really supposed to be chasing Osama in Afghanistan. I’ll bet we can get away with that.” Or perhaps they get a memo from MoveOn.org with the talking points, which they circulate, because they all say the same thing in the same words. Do they have rehearsals?

And how do they all manage to forget the same things at the same time?

Obama is going to great lengths to appear “presidential”. There are the sets designed to look like a presidential press conference, the array of flags in photographs, and of course, his “presidential seal” (quickly disposed of when it evoked more humor than awe). There’s the decision to deliver his acceptance speech at Invesco Field in Denver rather than at the convention site. Obama says he wants to give the common folk more “access” to the process. Uh huh. Visions of Leni Riefenstahl.  Do you think there will be torches?

And then a demand to give a speech at the Brandenburg Gate like Presidents Kennedy and Reagan (he might wait until he’s actually a president, and it is usual for those things to be arranged quietly behind the scenes). German officials were not too keen on allowing their historic spot to be used as a prop for a candidate. It puts the German government in the awkward position of appearing to favor one candidate.

Obama’s now backed off on that, but seems unaware of the foreign policy gaffes he is making, or the problems he is creating. The rewriting of NAFTA created big problems with Mexico and Canada, opposing a free trade agreement with Columbia, invading Pakistan, the embarrassing Jerusalem gaffe all presented foreign policy problems that had to be soothed. And his pronouncements on getting out of Iraq aren’t going down too well in Europe.

On his upcoming trip abroad, he is making it clear that he isn’t going to Iraq or Afghanistan to learn, but to enhance his image. It’s (as usual) all about him. With a crew of star liberal TV anchors along to interview him at significant sites (looking presidential) he expects to raise his foreign policy qualifications. Oh, so that’s how it’s done.

Let me be clear. People may differ on the war. People may be opposed to the war, but if they are going to make pronouncements about the war, then they need to know what they are talking about. For Obama, this is a problem, and it is a problem for America. He does say the darnedest things, but it’s not funny.



They all hate us, right? by The Elephant's Child

D-Day Reenactment

How many times have you heard that everyone in the world hates America (and it’s all Bush’s fault)?  Well, Africans love George Bush. They welcomed him like a rock star. Canada now has a conservative government, as does France, as does Italy, as does Germany. And the Brits are not too fond of Gordon Brown at the present. They love us in Eastern Europe. The Aussies now have a more liberal government, but they still like us. The Iranians like us –it’s only the government of the mullahs that doesn’t. We’re fine with Taiwan, Korea and Japan. India’s a friend. And then there is this odd little story from American Thinker. “The D-Day story the MSM didn’t tell again”

By the thousands, they come. Like ghosts. Dressed in full, authentic World War II battle gear. Standing in small groups on the street corners of St. Mere Eglise, Carentan and the other towns and villages near the coast where the British, Canadians and Americans came ashore in ’44.

They carry M-1s, BARs, Thompsons and holstered .45s. All perfect replicas. Their uniforms display the patches of the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions. The 29th and 4th Infantry Divisions. Canteens and ammo pouches and med-pacs on their web gear. They wear their hair short. Some have their faces blackened. Several even have Mohawks.

They drive along the coast in long caravans of military vehicles. Willys jeeps by the hundreds, scores of 2½ ton trucks, armored cars, potable water trucks, mobile AA batteries, even a couple of grinding Sherman tanks. They bivouac in olive drab green tent cities. Big and small. Field kitchens smoking. They invade the Normandy area, everywhere.

This is a terrific story that I never heard before.  Do read the whole thing.

A French boy watches a parachute drop by 450 men from the first battalion parachute regiment during a Normandy reenactment. His t-shirt reads,



The Perilous Fight by American Elephant

For over 230 years, far better men than I have risked everything fighting for our independence, fighting to keep us together, putting themselves between America and the evils of the world. They are doing so now.

To a man they knew the dangers. To a man they went anyway.

Today we honor those who have fallen to keep us safe and free. We are forever in their debt.

We must always remember what they’ve done for us. Too many take it for granted. Still others really have no idea. That makes it even more important that the rest of us remember and honor them.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

Of all the Memorial Day tributes I found, this was my favorite, but it is one that I can’t embed on our page, so I hope you’ll click the link and watch it. These were also very moving tributes…

Thank you to all who serve. God bless and keep those who gave all.



ABC News Shocker: 5 out of 150,000 Troops Endorse Democrats by American Elephant

US Troops in Iraq

Taking a page directly from Barack Obama’s campaign playbook, ABC “News” traveled to Iraq and was able to find five soldiers who endorse Democrat candidates for president — three for Obama and two for Hillary — which they attempted in a piece called, “Surprising Political Endorsements By U.S. Troops,” to portray as the general consensus among America’s fighting men and women.

Riiiiiight! John McCain leads both Democrats in national polls, but the military, which has a long history of being much more conservative than the general public, and which backed Bush by approximately 73% to 18% over Kerry in 2004, is suddenly gangbusters for the candidates that want to surrender Iraq to terrorists and Iranian-backed militias. Forgive me if I don’t buy it.

One of the first rules of journalism is that anecdotes prove nothing. One of the first rules of propaganda is to use anecdotes to portray what the facts don’t.

No wonder an overwhelming 58% majority of Americans don’t trust journalists to tell them the truth and only a paltry 38% do! A reputation well earned!



Democrats Attempt to Censor Petraeus by American Elephant

General David Petraeus

There are no “General Betray-Us” ads this time around, I guess we should be glad Democrats aren’t stupid enough to pull that bone-headed move again. But don’t worry, they’re still plenty stupid…

With General Petraeus set to testify before congress again, the Democrats talking points are exactly the same as last time — “General Petraeus is a puppet for the White House, things are going horribly in Iraq, and he damn well better not try to tell Americans any different!”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned Army Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker on Thursday not to “put a shine on recent events” in Iraq when they testify before Congress next week.

“I hope we don’t hear any glorification of what happened in Basra,” said Pelosi, referring to a recent military offensive against Shiite militants in the city led by the Iraqi government and supported by U.S. forces. [read more]

The implication that General Petraeus would even consider presenting anything but a fair and honest assessment of conditions on the ground is just as disgraceful and inexcusable now as it was the last time Democrats smeared him.

The fact is the only reason the Democrats need to warn Petraeus in the first place is because the surge has been so successful. Violence continues to drop, the Iraqi parliament has passed a whole slew of some of the most contentious benchmarks, and now the Iraqi government has again proven Democrats wrong, by leading the fight against the very same Shiite militias Democrats complained just a short time ago they were unable and unwilling to fight.

The Weekly Standard puts the lie to the Democrats latest spin.



Tell it to the Marines! by The Elephant's Child

Speaking of war protesters, the anti-war loony left continually amazes in their crass ability to offend public decency.

The ever-yearning-for-attention Berkeley City Council had, I thought, crossed the line when they attempted to banish the Marine Recruiting Office from downtown Berkeley, and gave Code Pink a parking place directly in front of the office. That all dissolved in a fit of giggles when Code Pink Princess Medea Benjamin was spat upon by an angry veteran and she started screaming for help from — the Marines! Bwa ha ha ha!

It appears, however, that attacks on military recruiters are not isolated incidents, but an ongoing campaign by the left. Michelle Malkin details the attacks which have been taking place since 2003.

Now, on March 19, the Pittsburgh Organizing Group intends to evict the Marines from their Pittsburgh recruiting office, “and everything inside it, occupy the location and transform it into something useful for the community. We’ll also be bringing a movable cage in which to confine military recruiters until they no longer pose a danger to our friends and neighbors.”

Goodness. And who do you suppose will defend their right to freedom of speech and their right to demonstrate? And who will, if necessary, save their sorry butts? The Marines.

American Elephant Adds: Code pink and other anti-war activists spend a lot of time harassing, protesting and insulting our military men and women. Why not take a moment and write a short email to tell our armed forces just how much you appreciate and support them:

(Just click the “America Supports You” button, then click the button for “Thank the troops”. You can be as brief or as long-winded as you want. It’s not hard, and they’ve certainly earned it.)

America Supports You!



9 out of 4,700 Retired Military Leaders Endorse Obama by American Elephant

Obama Plays Make Believe

Context is everything.

Yesterday, Barack Obama veered off his usual, platitudinous campaign theme of, “Believe!” and deep into the realm of make-believe.

Having served only one-half of one term in the senate (most of which he has spent on the campaign trail), the self-styled messianic candidate has been damaged by claims that he lacks the knowledge and experience necessary to be President and Commander in Chief.

Gee, do you think?

Seeking damage control, Obama held a carefully staged press-conference/photo-op from a museum in Chicago. I don’t know if rooms can have doppelgangers, but this one bore an uncanny resemblance to the East Room of the White House.

The staging was meticulous.

Surrounded by American flags and the flags of the military, atop a carpet of presidential blue, and from behind the closest approximation of the presidential lectern his stylists could jury-rig, Barack fielded questions and pointed his finger, looking very much the part.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I guess the more important question is how much inexperience does one make up for?

Obama then introduced nine retired military leaders who universally agreed that, even in the absence of any executive experience whatsoever, the neophyte senator has the judgment and temperament necessary for the most powerful job in the world.

By comparison, Hillary has 30 such retired military officers supporting her campaign, for a grand total of 39 between the two Democrat front-runners.

Americans should be interested to know then, that according to the best estimates, there are approximately 4,661 Retired Generals and Admirals who have for various reasons not endorsed either Hillary or Barack Obama. Or to put it another way, the Democrats have garnered the endorsements of 0.8% of retired military brass — the other 99.2 percent? Eh, not so much.

Not so impressive when you put it in context.

…oh, and as to the claims that Barack is qualified to be commander in chief solely because he opposed the Iraq war from the beginning? With all due respect Generals, so did these people…

.

Just as qualified as Barack Obama




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