Archive for the ‘Lieberman’ Category

Left cuts Obama slack for now

November 21, 2008

As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama boasted of opposing the Iraq War from the start.

By Glenn Thrush and Ryan Grim, Politico

But as president-elect, he has come to the rescue of surge supporter Joe Lieberman and flirted with the idea of keeping on Bush administration Defense Secretary Robert Gates — and now he seems poised to nominate war-authorizing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to serve as his secretary of state. 

The sound from the left: not silence, but no howls of betrayal, either.

“Anybody who has reacted after two weeks is not a serious person,” said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).

Members of Obama’s loyal liberal base — from the Netroots to campus liberals to Hill Democrats — are watching closely as the candidate’s vague incantations of hope coalesce into cold, concrete presidential decision making. It’s not a seamless transition, but so far the left seems to be cutting Obama some favorite-son slack. Then again, he’s been president-elect for only two weeks — even milk bought on the day he was elected hasn’t had time to go sour.

“People continue to be excited,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat who represents an Oregon district he described as one of the five most progressive in the nation. “They’re still going to websites. There are campaigns they can be involved with. They’re still networking and raising ideas and moving forward.”

Anti-war voters are used to being disappointed. Some were flabbergasted when George W. Bush won a second term in the midst of the war in 2004; others were disillusioned when the Democrats didn’t do more to stop the war after capturing majorities of the House and the Senate in 2006.

And for some, that “here we go again” feeling came rushing back recently when Obama urged his soon-to-be-former Democratic Senate colleagues not to hold “grudges” against Lieberman, who infuriated liberals with his support for Iraq then picked at the scab by supporting John McCain — and opposing Obama — during the presidential race.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20081121/pl_politico/
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Obama Can Offer An Opinion on Some Topics “When Hell Freezes Over”

November 20, 2008

During two years of campaigning for the White House, Barack Obama stood before cheering and adoring crowds and pontificated about … almost everything.

Now the cheering stops.

Case in point: Prsident-elect Obama chose to answer a question about college’s football’s Bowl Championship Series (BCS) on “60 Minutes.”  The feedback was chilling.

“The President-elect can fool around with our business when hell freezes over,” a college football bowl organizer told us.

Chris Dufresne  of the los Angeles Times wrote, “The troubling part about the ’60 Minutes’ interview was how much Obama knew about world matters and how little he knew about college politics.  Obama sounded like the guy at the corner bar who talked a good game but didn’t have all his facts.  Where were his advisors?”

Commissioner in Chief? 
Barack Obama, interviewed on “60 Minutes” again called for an eight-team playoff in major college football, a proposal that can’t happen until after the 2014 season. Photo from CBS

Obama told “60 Minutes” last Sunday night he was going to “throw my weight around a little bit” in trying to force the playoff issue.

“That skinny F*** has no weight, absolutely zero, in the BCS matter,” said a Bowl organizer.

Ouch.

Well, the President of the United States may be the most powerful man in the world but on certain issues he has to just pass on the question.

On Mr. Obama’s “pardon” of Senator Joe Lieberman, the Independent who supported Obama rival John McCain for the White House, left leaning bloggers are up in arms.

“Apparently, the American people didn’t vote for change,” complained Markos Moulitsas, founder of dailykos.com, in an entry posted on his site that was laced with anger and sarcasm.

Ah, the thrill of victory and the agony of the critics!

Related:
College Football Heavies Dont’s See Obama Has Any Place In Their Game
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Obama’s Lieberman support angers bloggers

Obama’s Lieberman support angers bloggers

November 20, 2008

Far left Democrats who named George W. Bush “the chimp” are watching Barack Obama to see if he is tough enough for them…

By Jon Ward
The Washington Times

The liberal blogosphere that helped elect President-elect Barack Obama has erupted in fury over his successful push to let Sen. Joe Lieberman stay as chairman of a key committee despite the Connecticut independent’s active support for Mr. Obama’s opponent during the presidential campaign.

Many in the “netroots” — the Web-based movement of progressive bloggers and activists — had insisted that Senate Democrats strip Mr. Lieberman of his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and howled in protest when he was not.

“Apparently, the American people didn’t vote for change,” complained Markos Moulitsas, founder of dailykos.com, in an entry posted on his site that was laced with angry sarcasm.

Sen. Joe Lieberman addressed this year's Republican National Convention. Barbara L. Salisbury / The Washington Times

Above: Sen. Joe Lieberman addressed this year’s Republican National Convention. Barbara L. Salisbury / The Washington Times

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov
/20/obamas-lieberman-support-angers-bloggers/

Say it Isn’t So, Joe: Lieberman May Join GOP Senate Caucus

November 7, 2008

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is talking to Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman about the possibility of Lieberman caucusing with the GOP.

Lieberman’s affiliation with Democrats is up in the air. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, angered by Lieberman’s support of Republican John McCain for president, is considering yanking Lieberman’s chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as punishment.

By ANDREW MIGA, Associated Press Writer

Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman makes a statement following ... 
Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman makes a statement following a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Capitol Hill in Washinton, DC. Emboldened by their electoral triumph, Democratic lawmakers look set to launch into a mountain of urgent business pushing ahead with new legislation including a fresh economic stimulus bill.(AFP/Getty Images/Brendan Hoffman)

Lieberman and Reid met Thursday to discuss Lieberman’s options, including possible committee and subcommittee posts for him. Those talks are ongoing.

A Lieberman aide, who requested anonymity because the talks are confidential, said Friday that Lieberman and McConnell, R-Ky., have spoken in recent days about the possibility of Lieberman joining the GOP conference. McConnell spokesman Don Stewart would only confirm that the two men have had recent discussions.

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An Election Day Note: Thanks, President Bush

November 3, 2008

I have a dark secret to tell before the election so that it’s on the record. It’s something that is difficult to say to certain friends, peers, family and, lately, many fellow conservatives.

I still like George W. Bush. A lot.

For starters, I am convinced he is a fundamentally decent man, even though I have read otherwise at the Huffington Post.

President Bush is far smarter, more articulate and less ideological than his plentiful detractors scream, and, ultimately, he will be judged by history – not by vengeful Democrats, hate-filled Hollywood, corrupt foreign governments, an imploding mainstream media or fleeting approval ratings.

George W. Bush is history’s president, a man for whom the long-term success or failure of democracy in Iraq will determine his place in history. He may end up a victim of his own tough choices, but the cheerleading for his demise when Iraq’s outcome is yet determined has hurt America and possibly set up the next president for the same appalling partisan response.

The fact that the United States has not been attacked since Sept. 11, 2001, far exceeds the most wishful expert predictions of the time. Perhaps facing another al Qaeda-led barrage would have reinforced our need for national unity, caused us to recognize the gravity of the Islamist threat and fortified Mr. Bush’s standing at home and abroad.

Yet, thankfully, that never happened. And Mr. Bush has been punished for this obvious success.

By most accounts, al Qaeda is reeling from the damage inflicted by our efforts against the once-thriving terror network. Yet reflexive enemies of the president – including Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee – shamefully mock him for not having caught Osama bin Laden.

It’s a playground taunt from the same people who never seriously advocated for a strong military foray into the regions where bin Laden could have been caught. These Daily Kos armchair generals also rhetorically ask why we don’t invade North Korea or Saudi Arabia. Yet no one takes this hypothetical warmongering seriously, or expects a President Obama to go on the offense in any of these conveniently preferable hot spots. It’s meant to hurt, not help, the president.

While President Bush has been marshaling a multinational force to take on modernity’s enemies in foreign lands, the American left has decided to go to war against not only Republicans but also moderate Democrats.

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov
/03/an-election-day-note-thanks-president-bush/

McCain Major Foreign Policy Address

March 30, 2008

 March 27, 2008

Los Angeles (myfoxla.com)  —  The United States needs to work more closely with democratic nations and restore its image as a world power, Republican presidential candidate John McCain said today in downtown Los Angeles.
US. Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain is ... 
“We can’t build an enduring peace based on freedom by ourselves, and we do not want to,” McCain said during a breakfast meeting of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council at the Westin Bonaventure hotel.

“We have to strengthen our global alliances as the core of a new global compact — a league of Democracies — that can harness the vast influence of the more than 100 democratic nations around the world to advance our values and  defend our shared interests.”

In his speech — titled “U.S. Foreign Policy: Where We Go From Here” —  McCain also reiterated his stances that the United States cannot withdraw from Iraq, that torture of prisoners must stop and the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay must be closed.

“America must be a model citizen if we want others to look to us as a model,” McCain said. “How we behave at home affects how we are perceived abroad. … We can’t torture or treat inhumanely suspected terrorists we have captured.”

McCain, who recently toured the Middle East and Europe, said the United States must do more to collaborate with democratic nations.

“The United States cannot lead by virtue of its power alone,” the Arizona senator said.

“Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom and knowledge necessary to succeed,” he said. “We need to listen to the views and respect the collective will of our democratic allies.

“… Leadership in today’s world means accepting and fulfilling our responsibilities as a great nation,” he said. “One of those responsibilities is to be a good and reliable ally to our fellow democracies.”

McCain’s comments were a departure of sorts from the Bush Administration, which has been criticized for employing a go-it-alone policy.

But McCain said again he would not advocate the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

“We have incurred a moral responsibility in Iraq. It would be an unconscionable act of betrayal, a stain on our character as a great nation, if we were to walk away from the Iraqi people and consign them to the horrendous violence, ethnic cleansing and possibly genocide that would follow a reckless, irresponsible and premature withdrawal,” McCain said.

Democratic candidates Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., have both pledged to gradually withdraw U.S. troops if elected.

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, criticized McCain’s speech as “empty rhetoric” that does nothing to distance him from the policies of President Bush.

“His new appreciation for diplomacy has no credibility after he mimicked President Bush’s misleading case for a unilateral war of choice when it mattered most,” Dean said. “Why should the American people now trust John McCain to offer anything more than four more years of President Bush’s reckless  economic policies and failed foreign policy?”

Foreign policy is considered an area of strength for the 71-year-old McCain, but today’s speech comes eight days after he made a high-profile gaffe.

In a news conference in Amman, Jordan, during a congressional fact- finding trip, McCain told reporters he continues to be concerned about Iranian authorities  “taking al-Qaida into Iran, training them and sending them back.”

When asked about that statement, McCain said, “Well, it’s common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaida is gong back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran. That’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.”

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., then whispered to McCain, who said, “I’m sorry. The Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaida.”

Democrats pounced on McCain’s misstatement.

“Not only is McCain wrong on Iraq again, but the bigger problem is either that either he doesn’t understand the problems facing Iraq and basically  the whole Middle East or he’s willing to ignore the facts on the ground,” Luis Miranda, a deputy communications director with the Democratic National Committee, told City News Service.

“Whichever one of those two things it is, it’s just not worthy of inspiring trust.”
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McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rodgers told The New York Times last week that “John McCain misspoke and immediately corrected himself by stating that Iran is, in fact, supporting radical Islamic extremists in Iraq, not al- Qaida — as is reflected in the transcript.

“The reality is that the American people have deep concerns about the Democratic candidates’ judgment and readiness on matters of national security and that’s why the DNC launched their attack.”
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 Text of U.S. Senator John McCain’s remarks at the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles, California:


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When I was five years old, a car pulled up in front of our house in New London, Connecticut, and a Navy officer rolled down the window, and shouted at my father that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.  My father immediately left for the submarine base where he was stationed.  I rarely saw him again for four years.  My grandfather, who commanded the fast carrier task force under Admiral Halsey, came home from the war exhausted from the burdens he had borne, and died the next day. 

In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home to the country they loved so well.  I detest war.  It might not be the worst thing to befall human beings, but it is wretched beyond all description.  When nations seek to resolve their differences by force of arms, a million tragedies ensue.  The lives of a nation’s finest patriots are sacrificed.

Innocent people suffer and die. Commerce is disrupted; econom ies are damaged; strategic interests shielded by years of patient statecraft are endangered as the exigencies of war and diplomacy conflict. Not the valor with which it is fought nor the nobility of the cause it serves, can glorify war.  

Whatever gains are secured, it is loss the veteran remembers most keenly.  Only a fool or a fraud sentimentalizes the merciless reality of war.  However heady the appeal of a call to arms, however just the cause, we should still shed a tear for all that is lost when war claims its wages from us. I am an idealist, and I believe it is possible in our time to make the world we live in another, better, more peaceful place, where our interests and those of our allies are more secure, and American ideals that are transforming the world, the principles of free people and free markets, advance even farther than they have.  But I am, from hard experience and the judgment it informs, a realistic idealist. I know we must work very hard and very creatively to build new foundations for a stable and enduring peace. 

We cannot wish the world to be a better place than it is.  We have enemies for whom no attack is too cruel, and no innocent life safe, and who would, if they could, strike us with the world’s most terrible weapons.  There are states that support them, and which might help them acquire those weapons because they share with terrorists the same animating hatred for the West, and will not be placated by fresh appeals to the better angels of their nat ure.  This is the central threat of our time, and we must understand the implications of our decisions on all manner of regional and global challenges could have for our success in defeating it.

President Harry Truman once said of America, “God has created us and brought us to our present position of power and strength for some great purpose.”  In his time, that purpose was to contain Communism and build the structures of peace and prosperity that could provide safe passage through the Cold War.  Now it is our turn. 

We face a new set of opportunities, and also new dangers.  The developments of science and technology have brought us untold prosperity, eradicated disease, and reduced the suffering of millions.  We have a chance in our lifetime to raise the world to a new standard of human existence.  Yet these same technologies have produced grave new risks, arming a few zealots with the ability to murder millions of innocents, and producing a global industrialization that can in time threaten our planet.

To meet this challenge requires understanding the world we live in, and the central role the United States must play in shaping it for the future.  The United States must lead in the 21st century, just as in Truman’s day.  But leadership today means something different than it did in the years after World War II, when Europe and the other democracies were still recovering from the devastation of war and the United States was the only democratic superpower.  Today we are not alone.  There is the powerful collective voice of the European Union, and there are the great nations of India and Japan, Australia and Brazil, South Korea and South Africa, Turkey and Israel, to name just a few of the leading democracies.  There are also the increasingly powerful nations of China and Russia that wield great influence in the international system.

In such a world, where power of all kinds is more widely and evenly distributed, the United States cannot lead by virtue of its power alone.  We must be strong politically, economically, and militarily.  But we must also lead by attracting others to our cause, by demonstrating once again the virtues of freedom and democracy, by defending the rules of international civilized society and by creating the new international institutions necessary to advance the peace and freedoms we cherish.  Perhaps above all, leadership in today’s world means accepting and fulfilling our responsibilities as a great nation.

One of those responsibilities is to be a good and reliable ally to our fellow democracies.  We cannot build an enduring peace based on freedom by ourselves, and we do not want to.  We have to strengthen our global alliances as the core of a new global compact — a League of Democracies — that can harness the vast influence of the more than one hundred democratic nations around the world to advance our values and defend our shared interests. 

At the heart of this new compact must be mutual respect and trust.  Recall the words of our founders in the Declaration of Independence, that we pay “decent respect to the opinions of mankind.”  Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom and knowledge necessary to succeed.  We need to listen to the views and respect the collective will of our democratic allies.  When we believe international action is necessary, whether military, economic, or diplomatic, we will try to persuade our friends that we are right.  But we, in return, must be willing to be persuaded by them. 

America must be a model citizen if we want others to look to us as a model.  How we behave at home affects how we are perceived abroad.  We must fight the terrorists and at the same time defend the rights that are the foundation of our society.  We can’t torture or treat inhumanely suspected terrorists we have captured.  I believe we should close Guantanamo and work with our allies to forge a new international understanding on the disposition of dangerous detainees under our control.

There is such a thing as international good citizenship.  We need to be good stewards of our planet and join with other nations to help preserve our common home.  The risks of global warming have no borders.  We and the other nations of the world must get serious about substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years or we will hand off a much-diminished world to our grandchildren.  We need a successor to the Kyoto Treaty, a cap-and-trade system that delivers the necessary environmental impact in an economically responsible manner.  We Americans must lead by example and encourage the participation of the rest of the world, including most importantly, the developing economic powerhouses of China and India. 

Four and a half decades ago, John Kennedy described the people of Latin America as our “firm and ancient friends, united by history and experience and by our determination to advance the values of American civilization.”  With globalization, our hemisphere has grown closer, more integrated, and more interdependent.  Latin America today is increasingly vital to the fortunes of the United States. Americans north and south share a common geography and a common destiny.  The countries of Latin America are the natural partners of the United States, and our northern neighbor Canada.

Relations with our southern neighbors must be governed by mutual respect, not by an imperial impulse or by anti-American demagoguery.  The promise of North, Central, and South American life is too great for that.  I believe the Americas can and must be the model for a new 21st century relationship between North and South.  Ours can be the first completely democratic hemisphere, where trade is free across all borders, where the rule of law and the power of free markets advance the security and prosperity of all.

Power in the world today is moving east; the Asia-Pacific region is on the rise.  Together with our democratic partner of many decades, Japan, we can grasp the opportunities present in the unfolding world and this century can become safe — both American and Asian, both prosperous and free.  Asia has made enormous strides in recent decades. Its economic achievements are well known; less known is that more people live under democratic rule in Asia than in any other region of the world.

Dealing with a rising China will be a central challenge for the next American president.  Recent prosperity in China has brought more people out of poverty faster than during any other time in human history.  China’s newfound power implies responsibilities.  China could bolster its claim that it is “peacefully rising” by being more transparent about its significant military buildup, by working with the world to isolate pariah states such as Burma, Sudan and Zimbabwe, and by ceasing its efforts to establish regional forums and economic arrangements designed to exclude America from Asia. 

China and the United States are not destined to be adversaries.  We have numerous overlapping interests and hope to see our relationship evolve in a manner that benefits both countries and, in turn, the Asia-Pacific region and the world.  But until China moves toward political liberalization, our relationship will be based on periodically shared interests rather than the bedrock of shared values. 

The United States did not single-handedly win the Cold War; the transatlantic alliance did, in concert with partners around the world.  The bonds we share with Europe in terms of history, values, and interests are unique.  Americans should welcome the rise of a strong, confident European Union as we continue to support a strong NATO.  The future of the transatlantic relationship lies in confronting the challenges of the twenty-first century worldwide: developing a common energy policy, creating a transatlantic common market tying our economies more closely together, addressing the dangers posed by a revanchist Russia, and institutionalizing our cooperation on issues such as climate change, foreign assistance, and democracy promotion.

We should start by ensuring that the G-8, the group of eight highly industrialized states, becomes again a club of leading market democracies: it should include Brazil and India but exclude Russia.  Rather than tolerate Russia’s nuclear blackmail or cyber attacks, Western nations should make clear that the solidarity of NATO, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, is indivisible and that the organization’s doors remain open to all democracies committed to the defense of freedom.

While Africa’s problems — poverty, corruption, disease, and instability — are well known, we must refocus on the bright promise offered by many countries on that continent.  We must strongly engage on a political, economic, and security level with friendly governments across Africa, but insist on improvements in transparency and the rule of law.  Many African nations will not reach their true potential without external assistance to combat entrenched problems, such as HIV/AIDS, that afflict Africans disproportionately.  I will establish the goal of eradicating malaria on the continent — the number one killer of African children under the age of five.  In addition to saving millions of lives in the world’s poorest regions, such a campaign would do much to add luster to America’s image in the world.

We also share an obligation with the world’s other great powers to halt and reverse the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  The United States and the international community must work together and do all in our power to contain and reverse North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and to prevent Iran — a nation whose President has repeatedly expressed a desire to wipe Israel from the face of the earth — from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  We should work to reduce nuclear arsenals all around the world, starting with our own.  Forty years ago, the five declared nuclear powers came together in support of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and pledged to end the arms race and move toward nuclear disarmament.  The time has come to renew that commitment.  We do not need all the weapons currently in our arsenal.  The United States should lead a global effort at nuclear disarmament consistent with our vital interests and the cause of peace.

If we are successful in pulling together a global coalition for peace and freedom — if we lead by shouldering our international responsibilities and pointing the way to a better and safer future for humanity, I believe we will gain tangible benefits as a nation. 

It will strengthen us to confront the transcendent challenge of our time: the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.  This challenge is transcendent not because it is the only one we face.  There are many dangers in today’s world, and our foreign policy must be agile and effective at dealing with all of them.  But the threat posed by the terrorists is unique.  They alone devote all their energies and indeed their very lives to murdering innocent men, women, and children.  They alone seek nuclear weapons and other tools of mass destruction not to defend themselves or to enhance their prestige or to give them a stronger hand in world affairs but to use against us wherever and whenever they can.  Any president who does not regard this threat as transcending all others does not deserve to sit in the White House, for he or she does not take seriously enough the first and most basic duty a president has — to protect the lives of the American people.< /P>

We learned through the tragic experience of September 11 that passive defense alone cannot protect us.  We must protect our borders.  But we must also have an aggressive strategy of confronting and rooting out the terrorists wherever they seek to operate, and deny them bases in failed or failing states.  Today al Qaeda and other terrorist networks operate across the globe, seeking out opportunities in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Africa, and in the Middle East.

Prevailing in this struggle will require far more than military force.  It will require the use of all elements of our national power: public diplomacy; development assistance; law enforcement training; expansion of economic opportunity; and robust intelligence capabilities.  I have called for major changes in how our government faces the challenge of radical Islamic extremism by much greater resources for and integration of civilian efforts to prevent conflict and to address post-conflict challenges.  Our goal must be to win the “hearts and minds” of the vast majority of moderate Muslims who do not want their future controlled by a minority of violent extremists.  In this struggle, scholarships will be far more important than smart bombs.

We also need to build the international structures for a durable peace in which the radical extremists are gradually eclipsed by the more powerful forces of freedom and tolerance.  Our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan are critical in this respect and cannot be viewed in isolation from our broader strategy.  In the troubled and often dangerous region they occupy, these two nations can either be sources of extremism and instability or they can in time become pillars of stability, tolerance, and democracy.  

For decades in the greater Middle East, we had a strategy of relying on autocrats to provide order and stability.  We relied on the Shah of Iran, the autocratic rulers of Egypt, the generals of Pakistan, the Saudi royal family, and even, for a time, on Saddam Hussein.  In the late 1970s that strategy began to unravel.  The Shah was overthrown by the radical Islamic revolution that now rules in Tehran.  The ensuing ferment in the Muslim world produced increasing instability.  The autocrats clamped down with ever greater repression, while also surreptitiously aiding Islamic radicalism abroad in the hopes that they would not become its victims.  It was a toxic and explosive mixture.  The oppression of the autocrats blended with the radical Islamists’ dogmatic theology to produce a perfect storm of intolerance and hatred. 

We can no longer delude ourselves that relying on these out-dated autocracies is the safest bet.  They no longer provide lasting stability, only the illusion of it.  We must not act rashly or demand change overnight.  But neither can we pretend the status quo is sustainable, stable, or in our interests.  Change is occurring whether we want it or not.  The only question for us is whether we shape this change in ways that benefit humanity or let our enemies seize it for their hateful purposes.  We must help expand the power and reach of freedom, using all our many strengths as a free people.  This is not just idealism.  It is the truest kind of realism.  It is the democracies of the world that will provide the pillars upon which we can and must build an enduring peace.

If you look at the great arc that extends from the Middle East through Central Asia and the Asian subcontinent all the way to Southeast Asia, you can see those pillars of democracy stretching across the entire expanse, from Turkey and Israel to India and Indonesia.  Iraq and Afghanistan lie at the heart of that region.  And whether they eventually become stable democracies themselves, or are allowed to sink back into chaos and extremism, will determine not only the fate of that critical part of the world, but our fate, as well.  

That is the broad strategic perspective through which to view our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Many people ask, how should we define success?  Success in Iraq and Afghanistan is the establishment of peaceful, stable, prosperous, democratic states that pose no threat to neighbors and contribute to the defeat of terrorists.  It is the triumph of religious tolerance over violent radicalism. 

Those who argue that our goals in Iraq are unachievable are wrong, just as they were wrong a year ago when they declared the war in Iraq already lost.  Since June 2007 sectarian and ethnic violence in Iraq has been reduced by 90 percent.  Overall civilian deaths have been reduced by more than 70 percent.  Deaths of coalition forces have fallen by 70 percent.  The dramatic reduction in violence has opened the way for a return to something approaching normal political and economic life for the average Iraqi.  People are going back to work.  Markets are open.  Oil revenues are climbing.  Inflation is down.  Iraq’s economy is expected to grown by roughly 7 percent in 2008.  Political reconciliation is occurring across Iraq at the local and provincial grassroots level.  Sunni and Shi’a chased from their homes by terrorist and sectarian violence are returning.  Political progress at the national level has been far too s low, but there is progress. 

Critics say that the “surge” of troops isn’t a solution in itself, that we must make progress toward Iraqi self-sufficiency.  I agree.  Iraqis themselves must increasingly take responsibility for their own security, and they must become responsible political actors.  It does not follow from this, however, that we should now recklessly retreat from Iraq regardless of the consequences.  We must take the course of prudence and responsibility, and help Iraqis move closer to the day when they no longer need our help.

That is the route of responsible statesmanship.  We have incurred a moral responsibility in Iraq.  It would be an unconscionable act of betrayal, a stain on our character as a great nation, if we were to walk away from the Iraqi people and consign them to the horrendous violence, ethnic cleansing, and possibly genocide that would follow a reckless, irresponsible, and premature withdrawal.  Our critics say America needs to repair its image in the world.  How can they argue at the same time for the morally reprehensible abandonment of our responsibilities in Iraq?

Those who claim we should withdraw from Iraq in order to fight Al Qaeda more effectively elsewhere are making a dangerous mistake.  Whether they were there before is immaterial, al Qaeda is in Iraq now, as it is in the borderlands between Pakistan and Afghanistan, in Somalia, and in Indonesia.  If we withdraw prematurely from Iraq, al Qaeda in Iraq will survive, proclaim victory and continue to provoke sectarian tensions that, while they have been subdued by the success of the surge, still exist, as various factions of Sunni and Shi’a have yet to move beyond their ancient hatreds, and are ripe for provocation by al Qaeda.  Civil war in Iraq could easily descend into genocide, and destabilize the entire region as neighboring powers come to the aid of their favored factions.  I believe a reckless and premature withdrawal would be a terrible defeat for our security interests and our values.  Iran will also view our premature withdrawal as a victory, a nd the biggest state supporter of terrorists, a country with nuclear ambitions and a stated desire to destroy the State of Israel, will see its influence in the Middle East grow significantly.  These consequences of our defeat would threaten us for years, and those who argue for it, as both Democratic candidates do, are arguing for a course that would eventually draw us into a wider and more difficult war that would entail far greater dangers and sacrifices than we have suffered to date. I do not argue against withdrawal, any more than I argued several years ago for the change in tactics and additional forces that are now succeeding in Iraq, because I am somehow indifferent to war and the suffering it inflicts on too many American families.  I hold my position because I hate war, and I know very well and very personally how grievous its wages are.  But I know, too, that we must sometimes pay those wages to avoid paying even higher ones later.

I run for President because I want to keep the country I love and have served all my life safe, and to rise to the challenges of our times, as generations before us rose to theirs.  I run for President because I know it is incumbent on America, more than any other nation on earth, to lead in building the foundations for a stable and enduring peace, a peace built on the strength of our commitment to it, on the transformative ideals on which we were founded, on our ability to see around the corner of history, and on our courage and wisdom to make hard choices.  I run because I believe, as strongly as I ever have, that it is within our power to make in our time another, better world than we inherited.

Thank you.

Multidimensional Chess

March 28, 2008

By Arnaud de Borchgrave
The Washington Times
March 28, 2008

To understand the chasm between mainstream media and the blogosphere, Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass” is a helpful guide. Tweedledum and Tweedledee, they are not. But they are frequently fact and factoid (an invented fact taken to be true because of its appearance in print). And many blogs have achieved the status of print since countless millions get their news online. The average age of a newspaper reader is 55. Onliners? Try 30.
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Sen. John McCain and his independent (formerly a Democrat) fellow traveler Sen. Joe Lieberman wound up their most recent Mideast foray in Israel where the Republican candidate for the presidency got a little help from the man widely tipped to be his choice for vice president in adjusting his yarmulke. .
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For many Middle East bloggers, the yarmulke gesture was proof Mr. McCain would be even less inclined than President Bush to coax/cajole/pressure Israel into the kind of concessions that would make a Palestinian state possible.
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Mr. McCain also fueled the speculation when he said Jerusalem was to remain the indivisible capital of the Jewish state and Israel must not be asked for anything that might jeopardize its security. Without a Palestinian capital in Arab East Jerusalem, no Palestinian leader could sign a peace agreement — and expect to stay alive.

Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman (L) speaks to U.S. Republican ... 
Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman (L) speaks to U.S. Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain following a meeting with France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace, in Paris March 21, 2008.
REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer (FRANCE)

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080328/COMMENTARY/384798343

McCain makes Baghdad stop; 8th Iraq trip

March 16, 2008
By BRADLEY BROOKS, Associated Press Writer 

BAGHDAD – Sen. John McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee who has linked his political future to U.S. success in Iraq, was in Baghdad on Sunday for meetings with Iraqi and U.S. diplomatic and military officials, a U.S. government official said.

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., ...
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., talks to reporters after speaking at a town hall meeting in Springfield, Pa., Friday, March 14, 2008.
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Details of McCain’s visit, which had been anticipated, were not being released for security reasons, the U.S. Embassy said. It was unclear who he met with; no media opportunities or news conferences were planned.

McCain, a strong supporter of the U.S. military mission in Iraq, is believed to be staying in the country for about 24 hours.

Senator McCain is in Iraq and will be meeting with Iraqi and U.S. officials,” said Mirembe Nantongo, spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

In this image released by the U.S. Air Force, Sen. John McCain ...
In this image released by the U.S. Air Force, Sen. John McCain is seen at Baghdad’s International Airport to visit the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, March 16, 2008. McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee who has linked his political future to U.S. success in Iraq, was in Baghdad on Sunday for meetings with Iraqi and U.S. diplomatic and military officials, a U.S. government official said.
(AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway, HO)

This is the senator’s eighth visit to Iraq. He’s accompanied by Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Before leaving, McCain said the trip to the Middle East and Europe was a fact-finding venture, not a campaign photo opportunity.

The senator last met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki during the Thanksgiving holiday.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080316/ap_on_el_
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IiUc4j7Ld__W5j6dlxLh6s0NUE

Global Warming & The U.S. Senate

October 23, 2007

GOP Sen. James Inhofe, ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, faulted Democratic Chairwoman Barbara Boxer’s leadership of the committee this morning in the most recent of a series of attacks on her handling of global warming legislation.

At a hearing on human health effects of global warming, Inhofe implied that she was distracting members with studies of what might happen from global warming rather than focusing on “what will happen if we legislate global warming.” Inhofe believes that any mandatory cap on greenhouse gas emissions will bear too great a cost for the economy for too little benefit.

The Oklahoma senator noted, “As of October 23, we have not had a single legislative hearing on any of the major bills.” At a much anticipated subcommittee hearing tomorrow [October 24], Sens. Joe Lieberman and John Warner will unveil their bipartisan cap-and-trade program, but Inhofe complained that the hearings process is giving analysis of the bill short shrift. A markup of the bill is likely to occur next week.

“There has been no time to analyze the text of this bill, or for members of the committee to obtain input from stakeholders concerned about how the bill will impact them,” said Inhofe, “or for economists to model its impacts on the competitiveness of the American economy.”

—Bret Schulte
U.S. News and World Report

Al Gore
Al Gore
Al Gore in 1994.
He has since become the
“Global Warming” Educator,

Below: Nobel Prize Winner
and
Swollen with Pride.