American Elephants


Meanwhile, Victory in Iraq Continues… by American Elephant

While we are all watching the conventions, while the media is busing beating up on 17 year old girls, America’s finest men and women are wrapping up victory in Iraq…

Victory in Anbar… Memo to Barack Obama: Soon you will have nothing left to surrender

On Monday, while Democrats waited to see if Hurricane Gustav would be another Katrina and the GOP juggled its convention schedule, U.S. commanders formally returned responsibility for security in Iraq’s Anbar province to the Iraqi Army and police.

Maybe you missed it. The New York Times Web page had three stories on Bristol Palin. The Washington Post’s online magazine, Slate, is running a “Name Bristol Palin’s Baby” contest. And Us Weekly has “Babies, Lies and Scandal” on its cover.

Victory in Iraq can’t compete in an environment where Bristol’s boyfriend is more thoroughly investigated than Obama’s lifelong association with Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers.  [read more]

General Petraeus: Troops Could Leave Baghdad Soon

General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq, said declining violence in Baghdad raised the possibility that American combat troops could leave the capital by next summer.

Asked in an interview with the Financial Times whether it was feasible that US combat forces could leave Baghdad by July, he said: “Conditions permitting, yeah.” [read more]

Despite Barack Obama and the Democrats most vigorous efforts to ensure the war and the surge became, in Harry Reid’s and Nancy Pelosi’s words, “a failure” and “lost”, America’s men and women in uniform are returning and will be increasingly returning in victory and with the great honor they so deserve.

And yes, that credit must be shared by John McCain and President George W. Bush. And not one iota of credit will ever go to Barack Obama and the Democrats who would have had us pull out long ago, leaving Iraq and indeed the region embroiled in war and genocide.

And yet they want you to believe they have the “judgment” to lead us in the next unknown crisis.

The success they opposed in Iraq proves they absolutely do not.



Obama Snubs Troops… Again by American Elephant

This time for bodysurfing, Batman and big bucks.

Last Month, Obama refused an invitation to a townhall meeting in Fort Hood Texas for 6,000 veterans, active service members and their families, citing a previously scheduled engagement. That townhall was last night, while Obama was vacationing in Hawaii.

Okay, everybody is entitled to a little down time. Problem is, he is willing to interrupt his vacation for a one million dollar fundraiser, just not for our troops. He refuses to see them when he is campaigning, he refuses to see them when he’s not campaigning.

Just how can a man claim to support the troops if he refuses to talk to them? More importantly, how is he qualified to lead them when he won’t even meet with them?



A visit to Walter Reed… by The Elephant's Child
July 30, 2008, 6:07 pm
Filed under: Iraq, Military, News, Terrorism | Tags: , , , , ,

Barack Obama couldn’t find time to visit the troops at Landstuhl Hospital, which he blames on his desire not to use the troops as a campaign prop; and the military suggests that Obama lost interest when he found out he couldn’t take his campaign aides, advisers and camera crew. I report, you decide.

The wounded veterans at Walter Reed had a visit from Iraq’s interior minister Jawad Karim al-Bolani yesterday. He went to the hosptal’s Military Advanced Training Center and thanked U.S. troops for freeing Iraq from Saddam Hussein.

We have come..to express our gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices made by these great warriors, soldiers, in freeing the Iraqi people and in helping us in Iraq recover from tyranny and dictatorship. We also want to express our gratitude to the families of all these great men and women and express how important their sacrifices are for our nation.

Nicely done, sir.



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.



Is The Iraq War Over? by The Elephant's Child

From Michael Yon, outstanding correspondent:

The war continues to abate in Iraq. Violence is still present, but, of course, Iraq was a relatively violent place long before Coalition forces moved in. I would go so far as to say that barring any major and unexpected developments (like an Israeli air strike on Iran and the retaliations that would follow), a fair-minded person could say with reasonable certainty that the war has ended. A new and better nation is growing legs. What’s left is messy politics that likely will be punctuated by low-level violence and the occasional spectacular attack. Yet the will of the Iraqi people has changed, and the Iraqi military has dramatically improved, so those spectacular attacks are diminishing along with the regular violence. Now it’s time to rebuild the country, and create a pluralistic, stable and peaceful Iraq. That will be long, hard work. But by my estimation, the Iraq War is over.

From Abe Greenwald, at Commentary’s blog, Contentions:

The corkscrew landing is a rite of passage for travelers to Iraq, who feel the pull of gravity as their airplane make a rapid, spiraling descent to avoid ground fire.

So it was a surprise to one periodic visitor last week when the Royal Jordanian Airlines aircraft from Amman descended into Baghdad International Airport with the same lack of drama as any commuter flight anywhere. No sudden plunge, no tight rotation, no straightening out the flight path just before the runway.

It didn’t feel like flying into a war zone anymore.

And another example:

Alcohol is openly for sale once more in Baghdad. All over the Iraqi capital, drink stores, which closed their doors in early 2006 when sectarian strife was raging, have slowly begin to reopen. Two years ago, al-Qa’ida militants were burning down liquor stores and shooting their owners. Now around Saadoun Street, in the centre of the city, at least 50 stores are advertising that they have alcohol for sale.

The fear of being seen drinking in public is also subsiding.,. Young men openly drink beer in some, if not all, streets. A favourite spot where drinkers traditionally gathered is al-Jadriya bridge, which has fine views up and down the Tigris river. Two years ago even serious drunks decided that boozing on the bridge was too dangerous. But in the past three months they have returned, a sign that militant gunmen no longer decide what people in Baghdad do at night.

An excerpt from a correspondent on active duty in Iraq on David Frum’s Diary at NRO:

Best experience of my life, even for the days when I was praying pretty hard.

Have a lot of folks over here that, believe me, will, I think, remember the US the way that (the immediate) post-war Germans and French remembered us.

Hope so, anyway. They’re good people. Been through quite a bit (understatement of the last three decades). Still, trying to work things out and I think (hope) they can and will.

Anecdotal, but indicative.



The Fourth of July in Iraq by American Elephant

BAGHDAD – How are you spending your 4th of July holiday? While most Americans probably slept, 1,215 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines raised their right hands and committed to a combined 5,500 years of additional service during the largest reenlistment ceremony in the history of the American military. Beneath a large American flag which dwarfed even the enormous chandelier that Saddam Hussein had built for the Al Faw Palace, members of all services, representing all 50 states took the oath administered by Gen. David Petraeus, Commander of Multi-National Forces Iraq. [read more]

Now that’s patriotism! Watch the “related videos” at the end to see the entire ceremony. Very cool.

These men and women, and a total of 8,000 troops from seven bases around Iraq were then treated to 3,000 fresh, authentic deep-dish Chicago style pizzas, shipped directly from Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria in Chicago:

The 3,000 pizzas — each with a pound of cheese and packed with other toppings — were cooked by Lou Malnati’s Restaurant staffers last week, then shipped though New York, Belgium and Bahrain on their way to U.S. troops around Baghdad.

The logistical nightmare of frozen freight and military regulations cost nearly $100,000 to pull off, most of that coming from donations from the restaurant chain and DHL Express.

But the idea came from retired Master Sgt. Mark Evans and his 16-year-old son Kent, Illinois residents who have sent much smaller care packages to overseas troops in the past

“My son and I were having a man’s night — eating some of Lou’s pizza while the women were out — and they were talking about the war on TV,” he said. “He asked me about the food over there, and I told him, ‘They do their best, but it’s not like home cooking. They don’t have pizza like this there.’

“Then he asked if we could get some over there.” [read more]

Evans plans to repeat the operation, and hopes to provide enough pizzas for all the troops next year. For more information, or to contribute, visit Pizzas4Patriots.

The military provided ribs, corn on the cob and red, white and blue cake for others, and yet other troops had no special Fourth of July celebrations, just hard work in unforgiving heat.

We wish them all a very happy Fourth as we celebrate the freedom that they are protecting.



Unpopular? Let me count the ways… by The Elephant's Child

Popularity? Gallup just did their annual update on confidence in institutions. They found that only 12% of Americans have any confidence in Congress. This is the lowest rating that Gallup has measured for any institution in the 35 years they have been measuring this question. And it gets worse! Only 6% have a “great deal” of confidence in Congress. Whew!

Newspapers and TV news rank along with George W. Bush, which is low enough, but it is Congress that is really, really unpopular. How can this be? Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and the Democrat Congress were going to change everything for the better.

Let’s see. Democrats have raised the minimum wage which has the effect of making it harder for people who are beginners at work to get their first job. (Studies show that even raw beginners usually get promoted within 6 months). Did you notice the big jump this month in unemployment statistics? There weren’t any big layoffs. What there were is a lot of kids looking for summer jobs or first jobs after graduation.

Democrats passed a big energy bill banning incandescent lightbulbs. Now we have to use the florescent kind and call the Haz-Mat team if we drop one. They ordered more ethanol production, which is causing food riots and inflation in food prices. Since they are experts in how to make automobiles, they ordered car makers to increase cafe standards, without any conception that car makers are in the business of pleasing their customers and are working hard to provide them with more fuel-efficient cars. The last time congress did that, car makers were forced to make their cars lighter, and killed about 4,000 additional people a year in highway accidents.

Being expert in solving problems such as high gasoline prices, they called in oil company executives and raked them over the coals for their high salaries and high profits; threatened to take over their businesses; asked the Justice Department to sue OPEC, and demanded that oil companies promptly produce oil from public lands that they have leased. All, of course, while they steadfastly refused to open ANWR, offshore lands or onshore lands, or oil shale lands to exploration and drilling.

Democrats have insulted the Generals who have turned the War in Iraq around, suggested that they are liars, and smeared the troops. And to top it all, they have suggested that Congress should take over American oil refineries so that they can control prices. When I was growing up, they called that communism, and America was pretty definitely against it.

I could go on and on, but space is limited. There is a common thread here, and it seems to be an unfamiliarity with economics and history. Throw in a healthy dose of lack of interest in the meaning of freedom, and how it is attained, preserved and nurtured.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,303 other followers

%d bloggers like this: