American Elephants


One of These Things Doesn’t Go With The Other, One of These things Just Doesn’t Belong. by The Elephant's Child
October 5, 2009, 11:47 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Islam, Terrorism | Tags: , , ,

William Kristol  doesn’t understand the agonizing over Afghanistan:

I think that’s pathetic.  The president said this is a war of necessity.  He said it’s a war we have to win  He said we have to think about it regionally and that we have to think of Afghanistan together with Pakistan and that we can’t have a stable Pakistan unless we hold the line in Afghanistan, and an unstable Pakistan in unbelievably dangerous since they have nuclear weapons.  Why is this a tough call?

Max Boot summarizes E.J. Dionne Jr.’s column in the Washington Post:

In essence, he writes, we should accept a high risk of failure in Afghanistan because trying to win the war will take away momentum from Obama’s domestic agenda, notably health-care reform.  “The last thing he should do is rush into a new set of obligations in Afghanistan that would come to define his presidency more than any victory he wins on health care.”

Well, that kinda sums it up, doesn’t it?



A Few Appropriate Words from Charles Krauthammer. by The Elephant's Child
July 2, 2009, 12:22 am
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Iraq, Middle East | Tags: , ,

Charles Krauthammer said something important last night, as he often does.  He spoke about Obama’s remarks as U.S. troops withdrew from Iraqi cities yesterday:

He referred to what we have achieved as a “sovereign, stable, self-reliant” Iraq.  He left out one word, and he left it out because it was a George Bush word —democracy.  That was a Bush idea — to implant a democracy in Iraq.

If we had wanted to have merely a sovereign, stable self-reliant Iraq, we could have chosen a Saddamist general to succeed Saddam after the war and gotten out.

It’s true that the democracy established here is a fragile one.  It’s still struggling, and we will argue for decades over whether it was worth the 4,000 American lives, as we still argue half a century later whether or not it was worth 36,000 lives to salvage a democracy in half of the Korean Peninsula.

Nonetheless, it [Iraq] is a democracy, and that’s what makes it unique and distinctive, and an amazing achievement in a sea of autocracies and dictatorships — having an effect, by example, on Lebanon, on the Gulf states, and even on Iran, where Iranians look to their west and see a country which is also Shiite, Arab, (which the Persians consider culturally inferior), and yet it has a democracy, it has elections, it has an Ayatollah Sistani who says the clerics ought to stay out of politics, and the Iranians are living under a sixth-century dictatorship run by mullahs.

So it’s a remarkable achievement, and we ought to emphasize what we have achieved in terms of democracy.

And it’s a pity that the president ignores that because the democratic nature of Iraq will establish the basis for a strategic alliance between America and Iraq in the future.

So well done, President Bush, and well done, U.S. troops.  You have accomplished wonders that seemed, for a time, impossible.   And well done, Mr. Krauthammer, for pointing it out so gracefully.



The Iraq War is Over. by The Elephant's Child
November 24, 2008, 4:58 pm
Filed under: History, Iraq, Military, Terrorism | Tags: , , ,

That’s what Michael Yon reports today in the New York Post.  Michael Yon has been reporting on the War on Terror since December 2004 at Michaelyon-online.com. His latest book is  Moment of Truth in Iraq , and I highly recommend it.  The civil war, he says, is completely over. Muqtada al-Sadr has lost a lot of support among the Shia.  Many view him as one whose influence derives solely from respect for his father.

The Iraqi Army continues to grow stronger and more professional by the month. Even the National Police, who last year were thought of as militia members in uniform and drew attacks, are slowly gaining acceptance and respect.  U.S. soldiers’ mentoring is working, and bonds of trust are being built between U.S. and Iraqi soldiers, police and citizens.  “The United States”, says Yon, “has a new ally in Iraq.  And if both sides continue to nurture this bond, it will create a permanent partnership of mutual benefit.”

Iraqis are tired of war and ready to get back to school, to business and to living life as it should be.

Do read the whole short article. The media have lost interest in Iraq, and prefer to think of it, if they think of it at all, as Bush’s failed war.  It is instead, a great Bush success.  It’s hard now to remember what an awful situation Iraq was in 2003.

I remember the Iraqis voting for the first time. We all remember the purple fingers. U.S. soldiers guarding the Iraqis lined up to enter the polling place noted a very pregnant Iraqi woman in line.  She went into labor while she waited in line, and a U.S. Medic came to her aid, delivered the baby, and the woman planted the baby in the soldier’s arms, and went in to vote.
Do not belittle Iraqi democracy. A people who endured the torture, the terror and brutality of a tyrant like Saddam Hussein could teach us a few things about the importance of the right to vote.



Bless ‘em all. Bless all the bloggers who tell us the truth… by The Elephant's Child

The guys at Argghhh! The home of two of Jonah’s Military Guys post a little article on why they blog, and it is a heartwarming story:

KIRKUK,Iraq — The first class of Iraqi Air Force student pilots were awarded their flying wings as part of a graduation ceremony here, Oct. 13.

Nearly a year after the three trainees, Iraqi 2nd Lieutenants Hassan, Majid and Habeeb, entered the program, the success of the Joint Iraqi Flying Training Wing and 52nd Expeditionary Flight Training Squadron came to a pivotal point in building a credible objective air force capable of conducting sustained operations in defense of the country.

As operations expand and the number of students being trained increases, the Iraqi Air Force will move close to developing the foundational capabilities that will allow it to sustain independent operations and grow to meet future demands.  The new Iraqi Air Force stood up after the invasion in 2003 but, until today, all pilots were veterans who rejoined the force….

That’s what happened, and news, but you won’t find much about it in the mainstream media. But that wasn’t the heartwarming part.  That came after a speech by U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen Brooks Bash, Coalition Air Force Transition Team commanding general. (Try to get all that on a business card!)

The important part came in a speech by a Distinguished Visitor when his speech was interrupted by a standing ovation:

One of the kids nudged me when the DV started getting passionate in his address.  “He is saying that for the first time in our history, we are not doing things for one man, but we are doing it for all the people of Iraq.  He is saying the US has showed us how, and we must not forget when we thank God every day, we must also ask him to bless the US.”

Well, an additional thanks to bloggers who tell us the things that do not grace the elite pages of the mainstream press. Because they’re important. And they’re things we need to know.

Which is one of the reasons that the mainstream media is failing in prestige, influence and readership.  They no longer understand what is important outside of their immediate circle, and we are beginning to really notice.



Obama Has Gone Too Far This Time. by The Elephant's Child
September 15, 2008, 2:40 pm
Filed under: Election 2008, Iraq, Military, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

Barack Obama has been campaigning in public for months for a speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.  In private, Senator Obama has tried to persuade Iraqi leaders that they should delay any agreement on a draw-down of American troops.  Obama, apparently believing that his election is inevitable, is trying to effect his own foreign policy, in direct opposition to the United States Government.

Amir Taheri, has been an authoritative columnist on the Middle East.  He was born in Iran, educated in Tehran, and is located in Europe.  He writes of this shocking development in today’s New York Post.

According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.

“He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington” Zebari said in an interview.

Obama insisted that Congress should be involved in negotiations on the status of U.S. troops — and that it was in the interests of both sides not to have an agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in its “state of weakness and political confusion.”

Obama’s latest position is that U.S. combat troops should be out by 2010. (Foreign Policy 101, you don’t tell an enemy when you are leaving) His efforts to privately delay an agreement would make that date impossible to meet. Obama’s attempt to surreptitiously damage American foreign policy are disgraceful and completely dishonorable.  Amir Taheri continues:

Obama has given Iraqis the impression that he doesn’t want Iraq to appear anything like a success, let alone a victory, for America.  The reason “He fears that the perception of U.S. victory there might revive the Bush Doctrine of “pre-emptive” war — that is, removing a threat before it strikes at America.

Despite some usual equivocations on the subject, Obama rejects pre-emption as a legitimate form of self defense.  To be credible, his foreign-policy philosophy requires Iraq to be seen as a failure, a disaster, a quagmire, a pig with lipstick or any of the apocalyptic adjectives used by the American defeat industry in the past five years.

Yet Iraq is doing much better than its friends hoped and its enemies feared.  The UN mandate will be extended in December, and we may yet get an agreement on the status of forces before President Bush leaves the White House in January.

Amir Taheri has been an excellent source for accurate information on the Middle East because he has so many contacts there. If this is correct, Obama is carrying out his own foreign policy in direct opposition to the foreign policy of the United States of America, and in opposition to his own ‘public’ position on Iraq.  His aim is to bring about failure, rather than success, in Iraq.

Please read the whole article linked above. Barack Obama’s record on Iraq has long been disgraceful, but this is really beyond the pale.



I’ll bet you didn’t know this about Sarah Palin! by The Elephant's Child

Sarah Palin has always been a runner.  She says that her parents were marathoners, and coached high school track, so it was a family affair.  She is still trying to get back to her old routine of running 7 to 10 miles every day according to the Wall Street Journal, but since giving birth she is only running 3 miles every other day.

Governor Palin is also the Commander-in Chief of the Alaska National Guard, something she shares with other governors.  However Alaska is the first line of defense in our missile interceptor defense system.  The 49th Missile Defense Battalion of the Alaska National Guard is on permanent active duty, unlike other Guard units.

Nearly 250 Alaska Guardsmen came from all over the country to serve in the 49th Missile Defense Battalion. Getting into the program is not easy, and passing the extensive training required is tough.  Applicants go through nine to 14 weeks of air defense training at Fort Bliss, Texas; a nine-week Ground Missile Defense operator course in Colorado Springs; then four more weeks of unit training in Colorado Springs before taking a certification test.

Major Joe Miley, the operations officer, explains that on order, they would fire an interceptor at the incoming missile in midcourse phase, which would destroy the target before it reentered the atmosphere.  Stationed at Fort Greely, about 150 miles southeast of Fairbanks, it’s a tough place to live and logistically support.  Winter temperatures, for example, can drop to 75 degrees below zero.

In the last 20 years, more countries are actually having intercontinental ballistic missiles, the number has increased from six nations to more than 20.  And the number of test launches has increased every year.  Training is continuous to keep skills sharp.  This is serious national defense.

Alaskan governors deal with a lot more national and international security issues than most do.  There is a lot of military in Alaska.  Sarah is briefed on highly classified security measures, homeland security and counterterrorism.  Russia is only a few miles away, and interested in claiming all of the Arctic for its energy reserves.  She also negotiated a pipeline deal with Canada.  And they were saying about her inexperience…

Our Sarah Palin has pretty sharp skills as well.



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.




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