Archive for the ‘Baghdad’ Category

Pact, Approved in Iraq, Sets Time for U.S. Pullout

November 17, 2008

Iraq’s cabinet on Sunday overwhelmingly approved a proposed security agreement that calls for a full withdrawal of American forces from the country by the end of 2011. The cabinet’s decision brings a final date for the departure of American troops a significant step closer after more than five and a half years of war.

By Campbell Robertson and Stephen Farrell 
The New York Times

The proposed pact must still be approved by Iraq’s Parliament, in a vote scheduled to take place in a week. But leaders of some of the largest parliamentary blocs expressed confidence that with the backing of most Shiites and Kurds they had enough support to ensure its approval.

Twenty-seven of the 28 cabinet ministers who were present at the two-and-a-half-hour session voted in favor of the pact. Nine ministers were absent. The nearly unanimous vote was a victory for the dominant Shiite party and its Kurdish partners. Widespread Sunni opposition could doom the proposed pact even if it has the votes to pass, as it would call into question whether there was a true national consensus, which Shiite leaders consider essential.

US soldiers secure the area along with Iraqi troops following ...
US soldiers secure the area along with Iraqi troops following a roadside bomb in the northern city of Mosul, some 370 kms from Baghdad. The White House on Sunday welcomed the approval by Iraq’s cabinet of a military pact that requires the withdrawal of all US troops by the end of 2011.(AFP/Ali al-Saadi)

The proposed agreement, which took nearly a year to negotiate with the United States, not only sets a date for American troop withdrawal, but puts new restrictions on American combat operations in Iraq starting Jan. 1 and requires an American military pullback from urban areas by June 30. Those hard dates reflect a significant concession by the departing Bush administration, which had been publicly averse to timetables.

Iraq also obtained a significant degree of jurisdiction in some cases over serious crimes committed by Americans who are off duty and not on bases.

In Washington, the White House welcomed the vote as “an important and positive step” and attributed the agreement itself to security improvements in the past year.

Throughout the negotiations, the Shiite parties and the prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, under pressure from forces both within and outside the country, had been trying to strike a balance in forging a viable agreement with the Americans that would guarantee Iraq’s security and that would still stand firm against what many, including neighboring Iran, consider a hostile force

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/17/world/middleeas
t/17iraq.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

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BAGHDAD – Iraq’s Cabinet overwhelmingly approved a security pact with the United States on Sunday, ending prolonged negotiations to allow American forces to remain for three more years in the country they first occupied in 2003.

Read the Associated Press report:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081117/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_
iraq;_ylt=AgDMXJb9ChdxknE9ktwMJ6.s0NUE

British troops out of Iraq by end of 2009

November 14, 2008

All British troops will be out of Iraq by the end of next year, Iraq’s national security advisor said on Friday, days before Baghdad was expected to vote on a controversial US military pact.

“By the end of next year there will be no British troops in Iraq. By the end of 2009,” Muwafaq al-Rubaie said, adding that negotiations between London and Baghdad on the pull-out had begun two weeks ago.

AFP

A defence ministry spokesman in London said in response that Britain has “no timetable” for the withdrawal of its roughly 4,000 troops in Iraq, the vast majority of which are based in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

 

“At the minute, we have no timetable,” the spokesman told AFP.

“We are hopefully making progress, we have made progress in Basra, and we are on course to meet the prime minister’s fundamental change of mission in 2009,” the spokesman said, reiterating previously-stated plans.

Baghdad has been racing to secure separate agreements with both Britain and the United States to replace the UN mandate currently governing the presence of foreign troops in the country, which expires December 31.

Iraq’s cabinet was expected to vote on the so-called Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), a wide-ranging US military pact, either Saturday or Sunday. The two sides have been wrangling over the document for months.

 

Rubaie insisted however that the agreement Iraq sought with the British was simpler and would not take as much time to complete.

“It will be a much shorter agreement with the UK,” Rubaie said. “And it progresses quite nicely. It’s much shorter and much simpler.”

He added that by the middle of next year there would be a “dramatic” reduction of British troops.

Read the rest:
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=081114152119.wticcipl&show_article=1

Iraqi Insurgent Groups Vow to Derail U.S.-Iraqi Security Pact

November 12, 2008

Ten Iraqi insurgent groups have agreed to escalate attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces to derail the proposed U.S.-Iraqi security agreement, an Internet monitoring service said Tuesday.

A U.S. soldier inspects the scene of a bombing in central Baghdad, ...
A U.S. soldier inspects the scene of a bombing in central Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008. A parked car bomb exploded in a bustling section of downtown Baghdad early Wednesday, killing four people and wounding 15 others, police said, in the third consecutive day of morning rush hour blasts. The blast in Baghdad occurred around 9:30 a.m. (0630 GMT) off al-Nasir Square in the heart of the city — a busy neighborhood of shops, pharmacies and photography stores. Police said that three officers were among the wounded.(AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

The declaration against “the agreement of disgrace” was announced Nov. 4 in an audio speech by Sheik Abu Wael, a top leader of the Sunni militant Ansar al-Sunnah, who invited other insurgent groups to join, the SITE Intelligence Group said.

Associated Press

The security agreement would keep U.S. soldiers in Iraq until 2012.

“Such kinds of agreements are not negated by mere statements of condemnation and denunciation,” the sheik said. “Rather, there is necessity for work, jihad, fighting those forces the enemy and those who are loyal to them to recant this agreement”

In his speech, the sheik invited over 15 factions to join. Most of them posted statements accepting the invitation, SITE said.

Those groups also include the Jihad and Change Front, Islamic Army in Iraq, Hamas-Iraq, and the Mujahedeen Army in Iraq, SITE said.

Ansar al-Sunnah was established in September 2003 and is believed to have links to Al Qaeda in Iraq. It claimed responsibility for the Dec. 21, 2004 suicide bombing of a U.S. dining hall in Mosul which killed 24 people, including 14 U.S. soldiers.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,450524,00.html

Will Obama Have to Adjust His Timetable on Iraq?

November 7, 2008

The suge seems to have worked in Iraq but military experts caution against running too quickly for the door…

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By Brian Bennett
Time Magazine
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Senior U.S. military officials will likely advise Barack Obama to adjust his campaign pledge to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by mid-2010. While promising a 16-month timetable for getting all U.S. fighting forces out, Obama repeatedly insisted on what he calls a “responsible” withdrawal. Pulling nearly all U.S. troops and equipment out of Iraq in 16 months is “physically impossible,” says a top officer involved in briefing the President-elect on U.S. operations in Iraq. That schedule would create a bottleneck of equipment and troops in the south of Iraq and Kuwait where brigades repair, clean and load vehicles and weapons for the trip home, said the official. .
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Others say U.S. could conceivably pull out on that time scale, although that would require leaving more equipment behind. A more important concern that, officers believe the security gains in Iraq would be put at risk if troops were withdrawn before the Iraqi security forces are in a position to protect their own communities and borders. 

Already, the drawdown of troops is accelerating. The Pentagon announced Wednesday that a brigade of the 101st Airborne division will rotate out of Iraq before Christmas, as much as two months ahead of schedule, bringing the total number of combat brigades in Iraq down to 14 from its late 2007 peak of 20. But there is a limit to how quickly U.S. soldiers can depart the country while maintaining the current level of security. Although security has improved dramatically in many neighborhoods in Baghdad over the past year, the ability of the Iraqi security forces to act independently and effectively, while improved, remains inconsistent. Iraqi forces have yet to shift their focus from counterinsurgency operations to defending Iraq’s borders.
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The Iraqi air force, for example, announced this week that it has ordered French- and American-made fighters, but its planned 32 squadrons won’t be fully up and flying until 2015. The former insurgents who joined the “Awakening” movement or neighborhood watch programs are being partially integrated into the Iraqi security forces, but this remains a point of tension amid continuing mutual mistrust between these Sunni groups and the Shi’ite-dominated government. Al-Qaeda in Iraq, meanwhile, continues to find sanctuary in and around the northern city of Mosul. 

In an interview with TIME, Commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, General Raymond Odierno said the numbers of U.S. troops can and will go down. “We don’t have to do it with 150,000; we can do it with less,” Odierno told TIME, without specifically addressing Obama’s campaign pledge. But the drawdown will have to be done “slowly, in a deliberate way, so we don’t give back the gains we’ve had.”

The Iraqi government, for its part, has asked that all U.S. troops be pulled out of Iraqi cities by June 2009 and out of Iraq by 2012. That remains part of the Status of Forces draft agreement currently being renegotiated between Washington and Baghdad, to create a legal framework for the operation of U.S. troops in Iraq when their current mandate expires on January 1. Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshiyar Zebari, says he is confident that the Obama administration will not pull U.S. troops out of Iraq too quickly. Obama has agreed to “consult with the Iraqi government and the U.S. military in the field,” Zebari told BBC television on Wednesday. And Obama himself has indicated that he’s willing to revisit his 16-month withdrawal schedule. He acknowledged over the summer that it may be necessary to “slow the pace because of the safety of American troops,” he said. “I would be a poor commander-in-chief if I didn’t take facts on the ground into account.”

Obama received his first on-the-ground briefing in Iraq on the morning of July 21 at a military base adjacent to the Basra airport. During the briefing, said a senior U.S. military official, then-Senator Obama seemed “receptive” and “asked good questions.” The hope among senior officers in Iraq is that President-elect Obama will make good on another promise he’s made over an over again from the stump: “We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20081107/us_time
/willobamahavetoadjusthis
timetableoniraq;_ylt=Ag0J9gFcmqJgPmPY_UxGIROs0NUE

For Obama, Getting Out of Iraq May Not Be so Easy

November 6, 2008

In some ways Barack Obama’s hopes of withdrawing US troops more quickly are already being realised.

At least in Baghdad, you see far fewer US soldiers and convoys on the streets these days.

Iraqi soldiers and police do more of the patrols and police an ever-expanding maze of checkpoints and barriers.

By Andrew North
BBC News, Baghdad

US helicopters fly over Baghdad

All day long US helicopters patrol the skies above Baghdad to deter mortar fire

With so many different uniforms around, the problem is working out who you are dealing with when you are stopped.

So Iraqi security forces have already taken on a lot more responsibility.

But they still rely on the Americans for a lot of things, including some very sophisticated back-up.

All day long, Apache attack helicopters and US-controlled surveillance drones circle above Baghdad, watching everything below.

If someone fires a mortar towards the government buildings in the Green Zone for example, there’s a reasonable chance either the drones or the helicopters will spot the launch site.

Rarely do they get a chance for a second shot.

But the Americans are unlikely to be handing over this kind of technology to the Iraqis when they leave.

Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has been keen to demonstrate the greater capacity of his forces, but security experts here fear he doesn’t realise how dependent they remain on US support.

The real ‘surge’?

Mortars, bombs and shootings are of course much less common than a year ago.

But there are still incidents every day. While his supporters were celebrating Mr Obama’s triumph, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside Baghdad’s airport, killing four Iraqi policemen.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7712847.stm

Iraq Reinforces Syrian Border as Tensions Rise Between Countries

November 1, 2008

 BAGHDAD  —  Iraq sent police reinforcements Saturday to the Syrian border after last weekend’s U.S. raid against an alleged Al Qaeda hideout in Syria raised tension between the two countries, officials said.

Police Col. Jubair Rashid Naief said a police quick reaction force for Anbar province moved to the border town of Qaim, about 200 miles northwest of Baghdad, to prevent Al Qaeda from moving into the area from Syria.

Al-Arabiya television quoted witnesses as saying scores of armored vehicles were seen moving from the Anbar provincial capital of Ramadi to Qaim, which had been a major Al Qaeda stronghold until Anbar’s Sunni tribes turned against Al Qaeda.

Click here for photos.

The police moves follow last Sunday’s bold U.S. raid on the Syrian border town of Abu Kamal, during which U.S. officials say they killed a top Al Qaeda militant who operated a network of smuggling fighters into Iraq.

The U.S. has not officially acknowledged the attack. Syria says eight civilians were killed and has branded the raid as aggression.

Damascus has demanded that Washington apologize for the strike and has threatened to cut off cooperation on Iraqi border security in response to the attack. Earlier this week, Syria also sent additional troops to the border following the raid, but has since withdrawn them.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,445918,00.html

Iraq wants guaranteed US departure after 2011

October 30, 2008

Iraq wants to remove any possibility that U.S. troops could remain after 2011 from a proposed security agreement now under negotiation, a Shiite lawmaker close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Thursday.

The current draft would have U.S. soldiers leave Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011, unless the government asks them to stay to help with training or other missions.

By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer

But Ali al-Adeeb, a member of the prime minister’s inner circle, said the government wants that possibility removed.

“The Iraqi side wants to remove any mention of a possible extension of U.S. troops, fearing that the existing clause might be subjected to misinterpretation or could bear different interpretation because Multinational Forces might demand for extension depending on their evaluation of the security forces or the incomplete readiness of the Iraqi forces,” al-Adeeb told The Associated Press.

He also said the Iraqis want a joint U.S.-Iraqi committee to decide whether U.S. soldiers accused of crimes off base were really on authorized missions.

The current draft also gives Iraqi courts limited jurisdiction over U.S. troops accused of major crimes committed off post and off duty.

Those are among proposed changes which the Iraqis say must be made in the draft agreement before it can be approved by parliament in time for a Dec. 31 deadline when the U.N. mandate under which coalition forces here operates.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081030/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iraq;
_ylt=AscUdFyy9jtsb9u2glFjdnGs0NUE

Relaxed lifestyles show Baghdad extremists waning

October 29, 2008

Engineering student Haifaa Salman has discarded the Islamic head cover she started wearing two years ago after militants threatened to “punish” her if she kept showing up at college with her hair uncovered.

“I was forced to wear it,” the 22-year-old says, recalling the day in 2006 when two men on a motorbike stopped her outside campus to deliver the threat. But, she adds, “It’s different now. Life is normal again. College women wear what they please. The extremist groups are gone.”

By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer

People walk through the bustling Shorja open air market in Baghdad, ... 
People walk through the bustling Shorja open air market in Baghdad, Iraq, on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2008.(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

The decision by some women to shun the Islamic head cover, or hijab, is just one of the signs that Baghdad residents are growing increasingly confident in the past year’s security gains.

Children with backpacks can be seen walking to school. Sidewalk cafes remain open after dark. Families stroll through parks in the sunset.

But after five years of violence, many people are hesitant.

“Things are much better now,” said Ziad Mohammed, a 49-year-old government employee who lives in Karkh, a mainly Sunni Arab district on the west bank of the Tigris.

“But fear is still inside me,” he added. “I want to get rid of it. Maybe it will happen next year.”

For now, Mohammed continues to escort his children to school and picks them up because he fears they could be kidnapped.

Baghdad remains a very dangerous place, and much of the capital looks like a city at war.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081029/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_
iraq_baghdad_today;_ylt=AqAxnbFHokgkhgz0ovUNCuys0NUE

Why Obama Worries About Half the Electorate

October 18, 2008

Sadly, I find myself disappointed by both Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain and their presidential campaigns.  But I have a brother who says, “never watch football until the last two minutes.”

So now we are in the “two minute drill,” and today’s Zogby Poll says Obama leads McCain 48% to 44%.
Zogby October 18: Obama 48%; McCain 44%
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But many voters have expressed dismay, anger and even rage about this year’s election campaign.  “We are being taken for a ride my a pack of lies and a biased media,” one man wrote to us.  Others have complained about ACORN, Senator Obama’s friends and acquaintances including terrorist Bill Ayers and the Rev. Wright, McCain’s seemingly inept way of making his points, Sara Palin’s lack of “big city” experience and Joe Biden’s gaffes.  Here we will attempt to summarize many of these regrets and concerns and provoke additional thought and discussion….

Preadidential Election 2008: Obama and McCain
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The Media
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“Doesn’t the media have a responsibility to be unbiased and even handed about politics and politicians?” a voter asked us by email.

The answer is, journalism schools teach and preach honesty, integrity and the importance of unbiased and fair coverage.  But the teaching seems to be falling on deaf ears.

“Americans’ perception of the national media as too biased and too liberal have grown significantly over the past two decades. In less than twenty years, since the 1985 Times Mirror polls began routinely assessing the public’s perceptions of the national media, the percentage of Americans who perceive a liberal bias has doubled from 22 percent to 45 percent, nearly half the adult population. Even Democrats now generally regard the press as a liberal entity.”

The above is a news flash from 2008, right?  Hardly.  That paragraph came from a Media Research Center article entitled “The Liberal Media” written by Rich Noyes on June 30, 2004!

Noyes also wrote in 2004, “the gap between the media and the public has grown considerably. A dozen years later, the same research group — now the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press — found that ‘the American public is more critical of press practices, less enthusiastic about the news product and less appreciative of the watchdog role played by the news media than it was a dozen years ago when The People and The Press surveys were inaugurated.’”

So the so called “liberal media” is not new and is not a figment of your imagination: it is a reality.  What we at Peace and Freedom object to most is the seemingly total disregard for any attempt to be fair and unbiased as exemplified by MSNBC, NBC and The New York Times.  We noticed that as Senator McCain joked about Chris Matthews and the MSNBC and NBC bias at Thurday’s Alfred E. Smith dinner, NBC’s evening news host Brian Williams looked down into his lap — apparently in shame and avoiding the stares of McCain and the audience.  We also noted that when Senator Joe Biden decided to attack Joe the Plumber, the good Senator chose NBC as his medium, appearing to launch the attack on NBC’s “Today Show” and end ing the day on NBC with Jay Leno.

So the “biased and liberal media” is a fact of life and much of what they tell us needs to be taken with a grain of salt or thrown out all together.

Obama’s Acquaintances, Friends, and Race
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“Why is it that if anyone mentions Reverend Wright, Bill Ayers, ACORN, Louis Farrakhan and some of the other Obama friends and acquaintances he is attacked as a racist?”

This question came to us early in the campaign and continues to appear not daily but at least once or twice a week.

Remember when Sarah Palin made fun of Obama’s resume line trumpeting his experience as a “community organizer”?  Team Obama and their surrogates were all over her.  Mrs. Palin obviously didn’t understand the issues of the inner city, race and disenfranchised and under appreciated voters.

But recent revelations about ACORN (The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) seem to indicate that there is some segment of the “community organizer” community that shouldn’t be trusted or respected.  In fact, the FBI is investigating ACORN and there may be some significant lawbreaking, theft, fraud and scurrilous behavior among “community organizers.”

See:
ACORN Board of Directors Meet Amid Internal Lawsuit, $1M Embezzlement Caper, Leadership Struggle
and
ACORN Now Subject of Major FBI Probe

Questioning ACORN and other such organizations isn’t racism: it is something that makes sense and needs to be done, especially since the media has seemingly given ACORN and Mr. Obama a pass….

Senator Obama himself said a Special Prosecutor may be needed to look into ACORN’s activities.

How about Rev. Jeremiah Wright?  All we know is that his videotaped sermons looked anti-American, over the top, and inflammatory.  He even said “God damn America.”  And Senator Obama seemed to be oblivious to these comments, espoused weekly from the church pulpit where he went to “worship” for more than 20 years.

Supporters say that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is misunderstood.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Said “God damn America”
during church sermon. Obama was a member of
the church and contributed money for some 20 years….

On Bill Ayers, a former FBI agent told us (my Dad was in the FBI) that he “wouldn’t shake the hand of an anti-American domestic terrorist like Bill Ayers.”  Mr. Obama considers Bill Ayers as a friend.

So, without belaboring the facts of Barack Obama’s friends and acquaintenances, we find a very troubling pattern of people in Barack Obam’s life: and the lack of honest men of principles and integrity we see in Senator McCain’s life.  And we know this a matter of opinion so decide for yourself….

See:
 Obama & McCain: Who’s Playing the Race Card?
and
What Kind Of Men Were With John McCain In The Hanoi Hilton? Men of Character….
and
 Chicago, Academics Defend Bill Ayers; Former FBI Agents Outraged
and 
Obama and ACORN: Relationship May Be More Extensive Than Candidate Says

Are the Candidates and Their Surrogates Truthful?

“Strapped to a polygraph on national TV, I would assert quite confidently that I would strongly condemn thuggish and criminal tactics by a candidate I supported. The ends do not justify the means for me and most other conservatives I know. I wish I believed the same were true for liberals, far too many of whom are deliberately turning their backs on the corruption defining Barack Obama’s campaign.”

The above paragraph is from David Limbaugh writing in The Washington Times on October 16, 2008.
See: Voters Can Still Wake Up: Corruption Defining Barack Obama’s Campaign

Clearly, as my email proves, liberals think McCain is a filthy liar and conservatives think the same of Obama.  What I look for is a patter.  Decide for yourself.

Legislative Record 

We do believe that John McCain has an incredible, even a unique record of legislative accomplishment.  The McCain Feingold Bill was a partnership with a liberal Democrat aimed at reforming the election donation process.

The Kennedy-McCain Immigration Bill was also a partnership of the conservative McCain with a liberal Democrat, Senator Ted Kennedy.

McCain is a legislative maverick, teaming with Democrats on issues of importance

 Mr. Obama’s state legislature record includes many “present” votes, which we see as an indication of a lack of integrity.  And as for his U.S. Senate record, he has been running toward the White House most of the time and not doing any lammaking.   So please point out one piece of U.S. Senate legislation sponsored by Mr. Obama.  And then, please show us one piece of U.S. Senate legislation Senator Obama co-sponsored with a member of the Republican Party…..

Taxes
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John McCain is a rather typical Ronald Reagan Republican on taxes: he believes that lower taxes stimulate growth so much that the loss of tax revenue due to tax cuts is outweighed by new jobs, growth and prosperity.

Senator Obama said to Joe the Plumber that he believes in income redistribution.  This again came up in the final presidential debate which earned Joe the Plumber an attack from Team Obama, including Joe Biden’s Today Show and Jay Leno assaults on NBC.  So, Team Obama attacked the messenger (the plumber) but has not denied the fact that the Obama tax plan is a socialist class warfare plan….But you decide…..

Plus, given the recent Wall Street and home mortgage disaster, we find it impossible to see how Mr. Obama can come up with the money to do all the things he promises, including tax relief, more money for health care, and additional funding for schools and education.  With me, Mr. Obama seems to have missed the fact that the U.S. owes China over one trillion dollars, owes the American people almost as much now due to the Bush bailout, and that the economic crash has greatly reduced planned-for tax revenues.  My state and county are tightening their spending belt — but Mr. Obama continues to promise huge federal spending increases and tax breaks.  I just do not believe anything he is saying in the economic and financial universe any more.  The situation Obama lived in when he created his give-away plan has changed: and what Mister Obama once promised to a people living in a prosperous nation has changed…. Ask any small business owner like my wife or any unemployed workers starting with the American union workers of the automotive work-force.

Foreign Policy
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“On the campaign trail, foreign policy appears to have all but disappeared as an issue in this race,” wrote Jonathan Marcus of the BBC this week.

Did anyone hear any of these topics discussed in depth during the final presidential debate?  I refer to China, Russia, Georgia, Pakistan, Darfur, Afghanistan, Venezuela, India, Georgia, Ossetia and on and on. 

The economic meltdown has just about pushed foreign policy out of the presidential campaign discussion.  And this is a grave mistake we as a nation may pay for in the future.

The President of the United States does not have any control lever to the economy under his desk, as far as we know, but he does have great singular influence and say over foreign policy.

Mr. McCain’s support for the “surge” in Iraq turned into a major success.  But instead of claiming credit for this foreign policy and military success, Mr. McCain seems to have become a victim of his own success.  Mister Foreign Policy experience has fallen into an Obama trap: lets talk solely about our domestic economy. 

All I remember about Senator Obama’s foreign policy platform are some ill advised remarks like that he would meet with President Ahmadinejad of Iran without preconditions.  Mr. Ahmadinejad, last I checked, is making a nuclear bomb and is on the record for saying he wanted to “wipe Israel from the map.”

But, because the economic mess is on everyone’s mind and Mr. Obama is promising to make us all rich, I suppose we don’t need to care about such people as Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin, Hu Jintao, President Ahmadinejad and other interesting folks on the world stage….But you decide….

See:
Iran’s Ahmadinejad Continues to Gloat About End of Godless America, Capitalism
and
Pakistan’s Zardari Asks China for Aid
and
How Foreign Policy Fell Off The U.S. Election Radar

Campaign Financing
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Here again we think Mr. McCain fell victim to what Muhammad Ali called the “rope a dope” tactics of a thoughtful, though often underhanded, campaign team.

McCain loves campaign finance reform partly because he wrote the McCain Feingold Campaign Reform Bill with his liberal Democrat friend Senator Feingold.  Obama once said he’d stick with the restrictions of McCain-Feingold  since Mr. McCain promised to stand with the restrictions but then Mr. Obama, at the last minute,  changed his mind — at the deadline and after Mr. McCain vowed to stick by the restrictions.

Now, we as a nation, are witnessing an almost limitless pile of cash owned by Mr. Obama attacking a pauper in the advertising realm: Mr. McCain.  This is great if you love Obama but it is not good for truth, honesty and America in our view.  All this money pollutes the environment with a one-sided advertising campaign which was already jeapordized by a biased, liberal media…..

But …you decide.

Vice Presidential Nominees

Was Sarah Palin really the best choice for a John McCain running mate?  Probably not.  She is a woman with executive experience.  But she is no Mitt Romney, who also has a wealth of executive experience and as a business executive, understands how to “create” wealth.

And Joe Biden?  Apparently he was chosen by Mr. Obama for his foreign policy experience.  But in the Senate he is known as a gaffe prone, long-winded buffoon.

See:
Joe Biden, Because He Has No Integrity, Demeans Himself By Attacking Joe the Plumber

Energy
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What I recall most is this: Obama is for wind.  McCain is for nuclear.

It is more complex than that but not a lot.  McCain wants to drill more and his campaign events along with those of Governor palin frequently feature the chant, “Drill, Baby, Drill.”  Obama warmed up to the idea of additional drilling only late in the game.

Mr. McCain mentioned at the last presidential debate that we need more nuclear power plants in the United States.  He said the U.S. Navy has been the master of nuclear power for more than 50 years.

The United States is lagging far behind many nations, including Britain and France, in clean nuclear electricity generation.  Russia is assisting Iran with a nuclear plant.  Just today, China announced that it will assist Pakistan with the construction of two nuclear sites.  The U.S. even recently made an agreement to assist India with nuclear power.  Yet our own domestic nuclear industry is not building new nuclear plants with any regularity or verve.

I can’t recall Mr. Obama ever saying “nuclear.”

I think Mr. McCain is on the right track on energy — but I appreciate Mr. Obama’s commitment to clean power too.

TaskForce One.jpg
Above: This photo, taken 1964, shows three of the U.S. Navy’s early nuclear powered surface combatants.  Today, all U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and submarines are nuclear powered.

Character

I feel like I know John McCain’s character, but I live with an immigrant wife who suffered similar torture and hardship.  McCain survived a very difficult time of prison and torture with distinction.  He’s been tested.  I like people who have been tested.

I do not know that Barack Obama has been tested.  He is a great talker but not a great “doer.”  A man of spoken great convictions, to me Barack Obama’s life is a mixture of avoidance, association with the wrong people and the avoidance of taking stands.  Barack Obama reminds me of the “Artful Dodger” from the in the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist.

New York Times writer Jodi Kantor researched the Obama record at the University of Chicago Law School.  On July 30, 2008, Jodi’s story appeared with the following included:

“I don’t think anything that went on in these chambers affected him,” said Richard Epstein, a libertarian colleague who says he longed for Mr. Obama to venture beyond his ideological and topical comfort zones. “His entire life, as best I can tell, is one in which he’s always been a thoughtful listener and questioner, but he’s never stepped up to the plate and taken full swings.”

I prefer, especially in the White House, men that take full swings.

In short and in closing, we consider this a very troubling election campaign that Senator Obama, for good or bad, will likely win.  And it seems as if the Senate and the House of Representatives will see an increased number of Democratic legislators.  A predominantly Democratic House, Senate and a White House occupied by a Democrat at the same time is not good for Americans in our view, but we trust the American voter…..

Iraqi troops clash with Shiite fighters

March 21, 2008

BAGHDAD – Iraqi security forces are clashing with Shiite militia fighters southeast of Baghdad for a second day.
A man released from the US custody watches his wife sign a document ... 
man released from the US custody watches his wife sign a document to obey the laws of Iraq, at a US base inside Baghdad’s Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah, Friday, March 21, 2008. US military released 13 detainees here Friday.(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Iraqi officials said Friday that at least two police officers and two gunmen had died in the fighting in the city of Kut. The clashes began Thursday when factions of the Mahdi Army militia attacked security checkpoints, the officials said.

The Mahdi Army militia is nominally loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The anti-U.S. cleric has ordered a cease-fire but clashes often break out between rival factions battling for power in the oil-rich south.