Saturday, October 4, 2008

Obama Was Willing to Lose in Iraq

A president cannot treat a war as if it's a game

A profoundly important point is being missed in the campaign debate over which candidate was right on Iraq. In 2006, when conditions on the ground were trending downward and a decision was required either to continue the struggle or to cut our losses, Barack Obama stated that the proposed deployment of more forces, the "surge," was doomed to failure and instead called for a phased withdrawal of all forces within a defined period. In short, Sen. Obama was willing to lose. It was an astonishing display of ignorance to be so cavalier about defeat, almost as if losing a war was tantamount to losing a set of tennis -- something without lasting consequence.

I recall very vividly April 30, 1975, the day we acknowledged defeat in the Vietnam War -- the day Ambassador Graham Martin and others were evacuated ignominiously from the roof of our embassy in Saigon. Only later did it become clear how damaging that defeat was.

There were consequences for all nations, especially small states who are vulnerable to great-power pressures. In the late 1970s it contributed to a greater Russian willingness to take risks and a more aggressive Soviet foreign policy. Indeed, in the years immediately following our defeat in Vietnam, an emboldened Soviet Union established a dominant influence in Angola, Ethiopia, South Yemen, Mozambique, Nicaragua and ultimately invaded Afghanistan with 100,000 troops. Our loss also lessened our willingness to criticize the Soviet Union and thereby undermined the struggles of oppressed minorities inside that totalitarian state.

Losing a war also affects the behavior of allies who begin to wonder whether the United States can still muster the means and will to uphold its obligations, and to ask themselves whether they need at least to hedge their bets by being more conciliatory to adversaries. I recall very well the sudden rush of European foreign ministers to Moscow in the late '70s without so much as a preliminary discussion with their counterpart in Washington.

Further, losing a war also has a profound effect on the thinking within our military concerning how it was led, restricted, or abused in wartime. Painful reflection on a loss penetrates every level of the military and conditions its future relationship with civilian leaders -- as it surely did in the wake of the Vietnam War. Specifically, it led to the adoption, at military urging, of the Weinberger Doctrine, which asserted stringent criteria to be met in the future before any resort to the use of military force. These criteria included not committing forces to combat unless it was vital to our national interest, we had clearly defined political and military objectives, and unless the engagement had the support of the American people and Congress -- and then only as a last resort.

Allies and adversaries could see that these criteria were virtually impossible to fulfill, thus worrying the former and encouraging the latter. Yet such was the effect on senior military leaders of losing a war they knew they could have won. We are seeing some of the same disdain within the military toward our political leadership today as a consequence of how civilian leaders mismanaged the war in its first three-plus years.

Losing a war also affects our body politic. Americans have a low tolerance for foreign wars; losing one only reinforces their inclination to avoid foreign involvement and focus on matters here at home. Now is such a time. Yet can you imagine how much worse our political stability would be today -- faced with the financial and housing crises -- if we were also coming home from losing a war?

Consideration of these costs raises the question of whether we are forever bound to continue suffering losses if it becomes clear that we aren't winning. Considering the family of threats we face today, the question is specious. Notwithstanding the hubris and intelligence failure regarding Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program, which motivated our launching the Iraq war in the first place, and our failure to plan for the likely contingency of an insurgency arising, it is difficult to imagine circumstances anywhere in the world today where the U.S. military cannot prevail if properly employed.

This is not at all to say that we should be frivolous toward using military force -- quite the contrary. We are entering a time requiring consummate judgment and careful deliberation toward how to resolve the panoply of challenges before us. Indeed these challenges put a very high premium on coordinating the use of our political and economic resources with allies and avoiding war wherever possible.

The next president will enter office with the war in Iraq winding down but with the conflict in Afghanistan requiring urgent, focused attention. The stakes engaged there go well beyond restoring order in that country alone. How we emerge from Afghanistan will go far toward determining our ability to prevail in the global war against radical Islam, our ability to limit nuclear proliferation, and to bring order and the hope for a brighter future to the almost two billion people in South and Central Asia. These are issues of profound importance to the future security of our nation and our citizens. Losing is not an option, and no sensible leader should entertain the thought that it is.


Factors that Could Lead to Obama's Downfall

Change is an effective mantra in elections following two consecutive terms by one party in office. That is especially the case when the current officeholder is unpopular and the economy is weak. Barack Obama has that as a tremendous advantage in this race and recent polls breaking his way show it, but there are some significant factors that could still lead to his undoing.

When you look at the unpopularity of the current administration, the financial crisis that has overshadowed all other issues, the fawning media and the promise of a charismatic young figure offering change, it would appear this race is over. In fact, it would not be surprising if that candidate were leading by twenty points by now. Prospects are certainly looking good for an Obama win at this time, but there are a few factors that can still work in John McCain's favor. Obama's liberal voting record, his far left associations and the fact that Democrats control the Congress could all still cause trouble for Obama.

Obama is spending significantly more in my state of North Carolina than McCain, so I see a lot of Obama ads. One I saw several times this week was incredibly reminiscent of some Bill Clinton ads from 1996. I remember the Clinton ads because even though I opposed him, I was impressed by how good and how persuasive they were. Bill Clinton sat in what looked like could be a living room, or perhaps a large homey office, with natural lighting, and talked directly to the camera. He told voters that he was for a middle class tax cut and for "ending welfare as we know it." I couldn't argue with either of those ideas. I knew enough about the Democratic party at the time to know it was pretty unlikely that would happen, but I had to admit it sounded good.

When Clinton promised those things, the economy had already begun, and was maintaining, a steady recovery. That didn't stop him from referring to it as the worst economy in 50 years, though, and the nation bought it. Now we have an economic situation that both candidates agree is one of the most dire our country has faced. In spite of the fact that Democratic policies are largely to blame, the unpopular sitting Republican President and his party are going to be saddled with the majority of the blame. Those in the media will ensure they are, regardless of whether or not they are deserving of it.

In the Obama ad I have seen many times this week, he is sitting in a setting very similar to the one Bill Clinton used in 1996. Also like Clinton, he talks directly into the camera and promises tax cuts for the middle class. Will this approach be as effective for Obama as it was for Clinton?

A big difference between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama is that Clinton could credibly claim to be a moderate. He was a governor from a southern state. Southern Democrats are sometimes just as conservative as their Republican counterparts. Barack Obama is from Chicago and he has an unbelievably liberal voting record both as a state legislator and in the United States Senate. Barack Obama has voted against tax cuts or for tax increases 94 times. Obama has a liberal track record that should set off voters' alarm bells. Why should anyone believe he would now cut taxes when he has consistently opposed them for so many years?

Bill Clinton promised tax cuts, but even in an economy that was recovering nicely, he came back to voters barely a month in office and said that in spite of working as hard as he had ever worked, he was not going to be able to deliver them. There are certainly many excuses Obama could find to back out of his tax cut promise, but even if he did come through on it, there is another problem with it. Obama's tax plan is hard on small businesses. Even though many lower and middle income individuals would see less taxes personally, small businesses would face a bigger tax burden. Those small businesses employ lower and middle income people. If voters understand that the same tax policy that might allow them a bit more money in their refund checks could also put them in the unemployment line, they might not be so eager to vote for it. The only way they will know that though is if John McCain can successfully make that point.

The only reason Bill Clinton delivered on his "ending welfare as we know it" pledge was because after vetoing it twice, he was told that he had to pass it or he would lose his re-election. He therefore signed a welfare reform bill that a Republican majority had passed. That brings up another factor that could work in McCain's favor. Voters favor divided power.

The Democrats currently control both the House and Senate and barring some extreme unforeseen circumstances will not only continue to hold, but most likely increase their margins of control. Barack Obama has the most liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate. Most far left liberal policies are not terribly popular with American voters, but if the Democrats control the White House and all of Congress, voters will have essentially given them a blank check to do just about anything they want. One only has to look at the extreme liberal voting record of Barack Obama, as well as the liberal agendas and records of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to see what they can expect in an Obama presidency.

It should be obvious to voters that an Obama presidency along with a Democrat-controlled Congress would result in the most liberal policies many of us have seen in our lifetimes or imagined in our wildest nightmares. Add to that the very real possibility that a President Obama would appoint two or three Supreme Court judges. There would be virtually no check on the power held by liberal Democrats and they would feel emboldened by the election to claim a mandate for anything they proposed.

This is a scenario that should frighten all but those in the most extreme left wing of the Democrat Party, but I don't think it is a scenario that most voters have really considered. Those in the media are not going to write or talk about Obama's extreme liberal voting record, just as they have not, and will not, investigate his associations with the likes of domestic terrorists, slumlords, and fat cats that fleeced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It is up to the McCain campaign to draw that picture for the voters.

Those on the left will say it is fear mongering, even though for years they have warned of the extreme right wing and the fascist dictator state that America would become under Republican governance. They can't do that with John McCain, who has so often been in opposition to conservatives. Since he would almost certainly have a Congress controlled by Democrats, any attempt to scare Americans with a rightwing fascist state is absurd.

Those on the left can neither credibly argue that a far left agenda would not prevail in an Obama administration. Barack Obama's voting record is Exhibit One that is exactly what voters should expect. The case against Obama and complete Democrat control of government is bolstered by crooked associates of Obama such as William Ayers, Tony Rezko, and Rev. JeremiahWright. Additional clues to the leftist paradise that might exist under Obama can be seen in the thuggish attempts to silence his critics, whether it be his goons trying to shut down talk radio interviews or his operatives in state offices who are threatening to sue anyone who makes claims about Obama they deem false.

It would be no mystery to voters that an Obama presidency would be dominated by a far left liberal agenda if they were looking at the track records and associates of the candidates. Instead they are largely being shown an illusion of a modern day Messiah who is ready to unite the country and solve all its problems. They are being shown images of adorable children singing songs of worship and praise to Obama who is going to "rearrange" things to make them right. They are being given fluffy, puffy stories about the candidate by those who profess to be news reporters. The veil is so thin, really, if you know what stands behind it. Whether or not the McCain campaign can lift that veil in the final month of this campaign will determine the course of the country in ways we can only now imagine.


Obama refuses to remove NBC spoof

The ad on Barack Obama's YouTube channel featuring NBC and MSNBC remains available. NBC News spokeswoman Allison Gollust told TVNewser that YouTube has agreed to pull down the video (it is still up currently) and will continue to police it. But the Obama campaign, apparently, isn't budging.

"We have engaged the Obama campaign on the legal front and demanded that they stop using the ad," Gollust told TVNewser. "To date they have not complied. Their response was to put a tagline at the end of the ad. However, that is not good enough, and we continue to demand they cease and desist using this outrageous ad." The tagline reads "NBC and MSNBC did not cooperate in the making of this video" and flashes for three seconds at the end of the ad.

The spot has been seen more than 566,000 times, and features the image of Tom Brokaw and voice of Keith Olbermann announcing a mock victory for John McCain.


Obama tax ideas don't add up

Barack Obama portrays himself as a fiscally responsible tax cutter who will retrieve the government from the edge of economic abyss - but critics and independent watchdogs say otherwise. "Here is what I can tell the American people: 95 percent of you will get a tax cut," Obama said during last week's debate. It's a line that appeals greatly to middle-class voters already strained by taxes and the troubled economy.

But an analysis by outside critics and independent analysts who have studied Obama's economic policies say it's not that simple. Obama's definition of a "tax cut," for instance, is less than precise. Many of the "cuts" for lower-income people are actually "refundable tax credits." Rather, they are checks from the government handed to people who don't pay income taxes. This spending, of course, is paid for by other taxpayers.

Also, according to the nonpartisan, fewer Americans will enjoy tax cuts under Obama's plans than the 95 percent he claims. Only 81 percent of Americans would see some sort of tax cut, according to their analysis. PolitiFact scored the claim as "half-true," however, because the portion of "working families" - defined as a working couple with kids - who would get such tax cuts is 95 percent, a point the campaign quickly highlighted.

One of the most heated battles between Obama and John McCain stems from McCain's claim that Obama would raise taxes on people earning as little as $42,000. While Obama has suggested no such tax hike, he in fact did vote in favor of a nonbinding budget resolution establishing a framework that would have raised taxes on people making as little as $42,000. "Budget resolutions don't have a whole lot of specifics in them," explained Ben Harris, an economist with the Brookings Institute who has studied both candidates' tax plans. "But they're general plans for how lawmakers want to tax and spend."

Other than the extent to which it grants "tax cuts" to non-taxpayers, Obama's economic plan differs mostly from McCain's for taxpayers earning more than $250,000. Taxpayers making up to $161,000 a year would get roughly the same tax cuts under the Obama and McCain plans, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Under McCain, tax cuts would continue into the highest brackets. Under Obama, those taxes would rise.

For those earning $603,000 or more, the government's annual take would go up an additional $115,974, according to an analysis by the center. Those earning above $2.9 million would see their federal tax increase by $701,885 each year.

Obama also would raise Social Security taxes, unlike McCain, applying the tax to income $250,000 and above. Obama also says all his new programs will be paid for and reduce the deficit. The Tax Policy Center, using researchers from the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, found that Obama's tax plan would actually add to the national debt by some $3.5 trillion by 2018.


The Nearly Smoking Letters

Steve Diamond continues to plug away at the Obama cover-up swirling around Obama's association with Bill Ayers and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. One issue is this - how did Barack Obama, a young lawyer with no background in education, become chairman of the highly visible (and highly funded) Chicago Annenberg Challenge? Even the Times coverage noted raised eyebrows:
Several board members, including two university presidents, far outranked Mr. Obama in education experience. "Let me say the room had no shortage of egos, including my own," said Stanley O. Ikenberry, a board member who at the time was president of the University of Illinois. "It was unusual: here you had a person trained in the law chairing a board on school reform." Still, he said, Mr. Obama won his colleagues' respect.

The obvious answer, suggested by Steve Diamond (and seconded by yours truly), is that Bill Ayers, who had led the founding of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, lobbied on Barack's behalf. And why would Bill Ayers do that? There was an earlier effort at school reform in Chicago in 1988; one major player was the ABCs Coalition coordinated by Bill Ayers. One member of the coalition was Barack Obama's Developing Communities Project, so it is entirely possible that these two met in 1988 and were simply resuming their collaboration in 1995. The Obama campaign denies that:
Ayers had nothing to do with Obama's recruitment to the Board. Barack Obama was encouraged to run for Chair by Deborah Leff, with whom he served on another board, recommended by Pat Graham, and elected by the bipartisan founding board members: Susan Crown, Pat Graham, Stanley Ikenberry, Ray Romero, Arnold Weber, and Wanda White.

But Steve Diamond has unearthed correspondence prior to the formation of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge documenting some key points:

1. Bill Ayers was instrumental in founding the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

2. Unsurprisingly, the question of how the Chicago Annenberg Challenge would be governed was raised prior to the grant being approved. Bill Ayers was involved in resolving that.

3. The governing structure, including the board of roughly eight Chicagoans, was discussed with Bill Ayers.

The Obama campaign would like people to believe that, although Bill Ayers was involved at every important step, no one asked for this thoughts on the selection of a chairman. Uh huh.

Steve Diamond points out another oddity of the Obama camp's current explanation - Deborah Leff claims to have encouraged Obama to run for the chairmanship. In that vision Ms. Leff would have met Barack in Nov 1994 on the board of the Joyce Foundation, then pushed him towards the Chicago Annenberg Challenge chairmanship four months later. That gives short shrift to the fact that the Joyce Foundation, and especially Ms. Leff, had a longstanding and ongoing relationship with Bill Ayers, whom Ms. Leff considered to be in charge of developing the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. In filling the chairmanship did she really execute an end-run around Ayers in order to promote a guy she scarcely knew? Is that the Chicago Way?

No journalist will pick this up, of course, so the Obama cover-up will continue for a while. Eventually the history will out. But before it does, think how many people can request favors of their old friend Barack, and think how many people Barack needs to stay friendly with, lest their inconvenient memories embarrass him.


(For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . For readers in China or for when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)

1 comment:

Underdog said...


Arnold R. "Arnie" Weber is a Chicago Annenberg Board member. He was an Assistant Secretary of Labor and Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Nixon. Arnie Weber, former president of the Commercial Club of Chicago’s Civic Committee, is a longtime Republican donor. It is a well known fact that, for many years, Arnie Weber was a board member of the **Chicago Annnenberg Challenge**. THIS IS THE SAME ORGANIZATION THAT WAS FOUNDED BY "KNOWN TERRORIST" BILL AYERS!

Sarah Palin has been excercising her right to "guilt by association". I am sure Gov Palin realizes that this is a "two way street". The simple fact is that Senator John McCain has accepted tainted campaign contributions from Arnie Weber, an unrepentant associate of Bill Ayers.

Arnie Weber has given the maximum amount allowed by law, $1,500, to the McCain Campaign in 2008. Campaign statements reveal that in 2008, Arnie Weber made two separate donations of $1,000 and $500 to McCain’s presidential campaign. I hereby demand that Senator McCain denounce this man and reject these donations of "blood money". John McCain needs to either return this money or give it to a charity. True Christians know that removing the log from ones own eye is the first step before criticizing someone else (Matt 7:5)

After a bit of simple research, I was SHOCKED to discover there is even more damning evidence of previously unreported "associations".

There are further connections to the Ayers "family", such as: Arnie Weber was actually HIRED by Bill Ayers' father, Thomas Ayers, Chairman of Northwestern University's Board of Trustees. The "senior Ayers" also ran Commonwealth Edison. Some say that Thomas Ayers arranged to have Northwestern hire Bill Ayers' wife, BERNADINE DOHRN, another member of the Weathermen (40 something years ago). A residence hall at Northwestern University is even NAMED AFTER "TERRORIST" Bill Ayers' father, Thomas Ayers!


The reason Arnold R. Weber doesn't deny this is because he is, in fact, a respectable businessman and he hasn't been asked about his relationship to Bill Ayers, a man described by Republicans and Democrats alike as "a distinguished professor" at the University of Chicago. That is why no one is actually upset with Mr. Weber.

It turns out that these types of so-called "facts" are BASELESS ATTACKS WITH NO MERIT. They are meant to distract uninformed voters. We don't hear about these very often because most politician want to run CLEAN campaigns and most people want to talk about REAL issues affecting REAL lives. Most voters don't want to play "6 degrees of Kevin Bacon" and look for random associations.

Here's an example: you can trace Obama's family tree to BOTH George W. Bush (10th cousins once removed) and Dick Cheney (eighth cousins). That's right! THEY ARE RELATED! This is yet another useless fact, suitable for games of "Trivial Pursuit", but NOT worthy of any time in this election cycle. GUILT BY ASSOCIATION IS AN ATTACK ON VOTERS AND ON THE ELECTION PROCESS.

Some associations, however, ARE worth learning more about. When the CEO for the McCain Presidential Campaign actively lobbyied on behalf of FANNIE MAE and FREDDIE MAC, we have a right to know just what's going on here. RICK DAVIS IS WORTH TALKING ABOUT. Check out this link to the Wiki article on Mr. Davis.

Here is a guy that made MILLIONS as a Washington lobbyist. This guy is a caricature of the very thing that John McCain claims over and over again that he "hates". EARMARKS ANYONE? Rick Davis PRACTICALLY INVENTED EARMARKS. He launched his lobbying career straight from a Reagan White House job! Now he is running the McCain Campaign. How can we believe John McCain is against wasteful government spending after learning about his campaign manager?