Democrats & Liberals Archives

Obama Gets It

Yesterday in New Hampshire, Barak Obama made a statement that showed great understanding of the conflict we’re fighting in Afghanistan — and Iraq, for that matter. He said, “We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there.”

It's a fact that when US troops are fired upon, they retaliate with overwhelming force and often call in an airstrike on the source of the attack. There are two reasons for that: 1) That's how the US military is trained to respond, and 2) there usually aren't enough troops on the scene to contain the situation without resorting to overwhelming force.

The use of overwhelming force and the inevitable civilian casualties are causing resentment of US and Western forces in Afghanistan. That's a fact, and President Karzai has brought it up with NATO leaders and President Bush on many occasions. The totally unintended killing of civilians by Western forces -- the collateral damage -- is creating a new generation of anti-American terrorists. That's exactly what the terrorists want and in a generational war against terror, it's a really bad thing.

Republicans never tire of pointing out that our enemies hide behind civilians, so civilian casualties are inevitable no matter how careful our troops are. Sometimes they'll even say that the terrorists are holding the civilians hostage. They're absolutely right -- but they don't take the analogy far enough.

If a gang of armed thugs took some hostages, say, in a New York City office building, and fired on the responding officers, I guarantee the response would not be to call in an airstrike on the building. The response would be to call in the SWAT team to clear the building room-by-room killing or capturing the bad guys in order to free the hostages.

That's exactly the situation our troops face in Afghanistan. The Taliban do not have large numbers of conventional troops. They don't have an air force or armored divisions. The Taliban and their al Qaeda allies are nothing but a relatively small number of thugs terrorizing Afghan villages. The proper response is a hostage rescue, not a D-Day assault. If the hostages die, we lose. Barak Obama gets it.

Republicans and their media mouthpieces went berserk over Senator Obama's remarks, calling it an insult to the troops. That's an absolutely idiotic response. Barak Obama understands the war against terror. Judging by the Republican response, it's no wonder that thay don't understand why we're losing the war on terror. Republicans are clueless on fighting terrorists. Obama gets it.

Posted by American Pundit at August 16, 2007 1:51 AM
Comments
Comment #229595

AP- You can not free a people who chose not to work
with the Americans. The Iraqi people have chosen to
help the opposition, thus making this ill-conceived
invasion a lost cause. The only way to win now,
would be to set up a total blockade stronger than
the one Clinton was loosely imposing. You can not
save these people if they do not want our way
of life imposed on them.

Posted by: -DAVID- at August 16, 2007 2:45 AM
Comment #229598

DAVID, Afghanistan is already free. They just need help with law and order. Lots of help, as Obama pointed out.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 16, 2007 3:14 AM
Comment #229606

AP

So Obama didn’t mean to insult our troops. It was only his inexperience that made him say the stupid things he did. I can accept his appology, although if he keeps on putting his foot into his mouth he may get some kind of infection.

But where are all these troops in Afghanistan going to come from? Maybe you can pull them all out of Iraq and let all hell break loose there, but you still cannot just dump them into Afghanistan.

BTW - our “help” in Afghanistan becomming less helpful. Some countries will send troops only if they do not expect to fight. Other are talking about pulling out. Nobody is considering putting in more.

Posted by: Jack at August 16, 2007 7:55 AM
Comment #229611

AP,

You (and Obama) make a good point. It’s certainly true that every “collateral” death has the very real potential of creating yet more jihadis/wanna-be martyrs. There’s just no arguing that.

OTOH “police” efforts are bound to increase American casualties. I would hope that the ultimate goal is to have Afghan troops and police do the “heavy lifting” when it comes these “hand-to hand” confrontations.

I do find some of Obama’s comments contradictory though. He’d apparently have no qualms about using surgical air-strikes against Pakistani targets based on “good intel”, but he applies a different principle regarding Afghanistan.

I’m not really disagreeing with you ……… at least no more than I’m disagreeing with myself …….. it’s just a really tough call. I’m certainly no military strategist.

Ultimately you’re right when you say, “The proper response is a hostage rescue, not a D-Day assault. If the hostages die, we lose.” It’s just always hard to swallow the deaths of ones own countrymen or comrades.

Great article regardless, just makes my head hurt having to actually think this early in the morning.

Posted by: KansasDem at August 16, 2007 8:42 AM
Comment #229615

Establish law and order? How do you think that is going to happen? The people have been under control of either a warlord,druglord,invasion force(USSR),Taliban, so does the everyday person understands what law and order is. Or is it that we are trying to install the western style of law and order which will never happen. First women are not equal therefore have no say. Poppy’s are still grown for cash to make heroin for the western drug users, and how much of the money sent to improve their condition are actually spent for that and not pocketed in a politicans.

Unfortunately we can’t fight this like a hostage situation here in the US, and yes there will be innocent people killed, as the Taliban and terrorist like to hangout in the middle of innocent crowds, but then again who says the crowds are not trying to protect those that fire upon the military there?

The situation in Afganistan and Iraq will not be changed in our or probably the next generation, because the problems are centuries old and it will take more then are 5-10yrs that we will be there to change. It will be up to the people to revolt against the Taliban or whoever it is and want to make a better life for themselves to change it. Hey the colonies did it, so it is not impossible.

Posted by: KT at August 16, 2007 9:46 AM
Comment #229630

The war on terror is a unique kind of effort in human history. It is not a war against a nation with a homogenous population backing that nation’s regime. It is not a criminal group who can be eradicated through attrition. It is an ideological and economic and liberation war, and that makes it unique.

It is ideological in the sense that terrorism as end is as heinous and destructive force as Nazism or Stalin’s Communism ever was. What that means is that to fight this war REQUIRES that the opponents of terrorism absolutely refuse to become terrorists against people themselves in fighting it. That is the absolutely most certain way to engage in a self-defeating effort against terrorism.

It is an economic war in the sense that wealth is power, and the terrorists are fighting western power by attacking western use of economics as a weapon to subjugate the governments of the people governed in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Indonesia and Pakistan. This means that the west, to the extent possible, must wield its economic power in such places, not as a weapon against these nation’s governments, but, as a gesture of assistance and aid to the people themselves in these nations.

And it is foremost a war over liberation. A war against oppression and intimidation aimed both at the West and the peoples of these terrorist hosting regimes. This means that as we surgically seek and destroy terrorist leaders, we must simultaneously be working for the peoples of these terrorist hosting nations on their terms, not ours. Forcing our style of democracy and morality and religious ethics upon a people in the name of liberating them will only alienate them and strengthen the terrorist organizations we fight. We must learn to see what liberation means to the people of these terrorist hosting nations and seek to aid their ideas of what liberation means in the context of their religious, historical, and cultural values to the extent there definition does not pose a direct threat to our own security.

I have not heard Obama elucidate in this fashion, but, he has intimated that his thinking may follow these lines of reasoning. I am reluctant to fully endorse Obama, precisely because he is in the position of candidate seeking the broadest possible acceptance and endorsement by the American people. And that apparently prevents him from being too specific on his detailed intentions and assessment of what is called for should he be elected.

In other words, the very political need to avoid too much detail which could become fodder for opponents to spin, deliberately misinterpret, and twist against him, is precisely what prevents me from being able to endorse him for lack of knowledge and information about how he would proceed as President in the war against terrorist organizations, which America does indeed need to engage in.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 16, 2007 12:16 PM
Comment #229638
I can accept his appology

LOL! Jack, that’s exactly the clueless Republican response I’m talking about. Obama doesn’t need to apologize for anything. There was no insult to the troops, just a clear assessment of what it takes to defeat the terrorists in Afghanistan. You clearly don’t get it and that’s why Republicans will never win the global war on terror.

OTOH “police” efforts are bound to increase American casualties.

Of course. Go back to my analogy with terrorists holding hostages in a NYC office building. The police chief that calls in an airstrike on a building with civilians inside, just to save the lives of his police officers, would be villified by Americans — and rightly so.

The same is true in Afghanistan where US troops are acting as the local neighborhood cops. Every time US troops use overwhelming force in response to an attack and kill Afghan citizens — however unintentionally — Afghans turn against America and the Afghan government which US troops represent.

So yes, if we’re going to win these conflicts, we cannot be casuaty averse. If the US response kills innocent Afghans — the people our mission requires us to protect at all costs — just to spare US lives then we will fail.

Obama gets it. Republicans like Jack obviously don’t. More troops in Afghanistan will give our military more options in policing the countryside than just an Immediate Action Drill where you flip to full automatic and spray everything in sight, which is counterproductive.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 16, 2007 2:06 PM
Comment #229640

Obama gets it? More like it.Obama missed it

There were no substantiated reports of civilian casualties in the fighting, a statement said, contradicting earlier reports that many civilians had been killed.

“The targets were carefully chosen to pinpoint enemy positions and eliminate the likelihood of harming innocent civilians,” said the statement from US army spokeswoman Vanessa Bowman.


Posted by: Mutt at August 16, 2007 2:21 PM
Comment #229642
There were no substantiated reports of civilian casualties in the fighting, a statement said, contradicting earlier reports that many civilians had been killed.

Sounds like a good day, Mutt. Thanks. But since the early reports of casualties were from Taliban sources, I wouldn’t put the faith in them that you apparently did.

The Taliban are obviously feeding the Afghan people’s perception that government and US forces don’t care about civilian casualties. If that perception hardens, we lose.

And it’s a fact that at least 286 Afghan civilians have been accidentally killed by Western forces,. That’s the reality and we need to do everything possible — even risk the deaths of larger numbers of US soldiers — to prevent more Afghan civilian deaths. Otherwise, we lose.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 16, 2007 2:36 PM
Comment #229646

I suppose I should have put in additional comment.

An operation like the one detailed in the article can not be carried out just by airstrike. On top of that, the military is taking additional steps to minimizing the possibility of civilian casualties by using expensive and precise armament. This is made increasingly difficult when the civilians are used as shields (something the US does not do).

This operation flies right in the face of what Obama is saying; hence “he missed it.”

Posted by: Mutt at August 16, 2007 2:56 PM
Comment #229647

Spin…Spin…Spin ala Bill Clinton but without the expertise. BHO made a horrible gaff implying that bombing and killing civilians are what our military is all about. Nothing from his mouth about all the wonderful things our soldiers have accomplished in building schools and other infrastructure. No word or recognition from BHO regarding the building tribal resistance to the terrorists and the amazing turn-around in cooperation by the Iraqui population. Deaf ears and blind eyes are befitting of folks who only listen to those they agree with.

Posted by: Jim at August 16, 2007 2:57 PM
Comment #229649

AP said: “That’s the reality and we need to do everything possible — even risk the deaths of larger numbers of US soldiers — to prevent more Afghan civilian deaths.”

Can’t agree with you there, AP. In fact, I have to vehemently disagree with you. Our miiltary’s General staff have an obligation to the mission, but, that obligation does not negate their responsibility to protect and defend our soldiers in every possible way in carrying out that mission. If the recruits EVER even suspect that the General staff are wasting their lives and limbs needlessly or carelessly, the chain of command and morale will begin to break down. We saw this happen in Viet Nam with disastrous consequences.

The General Staff has to insure the security of our soldiers is a number one priority in carrying out their mission. Collateral casualties must also be considered, but, cannot be minimized at the obvious cost of unnecessary American losses. This is why the General staff is paid the big bucks and perks, their job and responsibilities are difficult, complex and competing, but, the mission and their command below them must be the top priorities. Failing to keep those priorities can and will also undermine success.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 16, 2007 3:06 PM
Comment #229650

Jim, sounds from your comment like you are a victim of your own admonition.

Tell me when or where BHO was when you listened to him speak for the entirety of his speech. Then I can quiz you on what he said. Game?

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 16, 2007 3:09 PM
Comment #229652


If we need more troops then I suggest we enlist the children of chicken hawks. We can start with the Bush, Cheney and Romney children and work down from there. No, that wouldn’t work. They would be usless as soldiers.

The moto of a chicken hawk: Ask what your country can do for you not what you can do for your country.

Posted by: jlw at August 16, 2007 3:28 PM
Comment #229655
Collateral casualties must also be considered, but, cannot be minimized at the obvious cost of unnecessary American losses.

David, the mission in Afghanistan is to protect civilians and impose law and order. Every time a civilian is killed — even worse, accidentally killed by US forces — we edge closer to failure.

If you want to argue that combat troops are not the right tools for a law & order job or that the mission in Afghanistan isn’t worth the cost, fine. But for the current mission to succeed, US troops must put the lives of the Afghan civilians they are protecting ahead of their own. That’s what good cops do.

The most obvious way to achieve the mission and, consequently, protect the lives of US soldiers is to send more troops. This isn’t rocket science. We know from decades of experience that there is a peacekeeper-to-civilian ratio that maximizes civilian safety and minimizes casualties.

Obama is making the argument — rightly — that the current number of troops in Afghanistan is far below that number and that if we want to win, we should adequately resource the mission.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 16, 2007 4:11 PM
Comment #229658

Good article. I agree, Obama definitely get’s it.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 16, 2007 4:20 PM
Comment #229672

AP obviously has never been in combat. Any officer who needlessly costs the lives of his own troops to save possibly innocent civilians would be relieved of duty if his min didn’t shoot him.

Posted by: tomd at August 16, 2007 7:01 PM
Comment #229673

AP- There is no way to deal with a walking, talking,
time bomb. Maybe possible to use a Robot for search,
an destroy, but you will never get close enough to a
bomb carrying terrorist to negotiate period. I still
believe we must Tirane the local people an secure
the borders as well as we can.

Posted by: -DAVID- at August 16, 2007 7:02 PM
Comment #229677
“We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there.”

Oh, this must be the kinder, gentler, more measured, cuddly imperialism I’ve been hearing about. Talk about the audacity of hope!

The Russians couldn’t win in Afghanistan, nor the Brits, nor the Greeks, noone. With the typical American bravado and ignorance of history, we’re going ‘to win this thing.’

I supported, with reservations, this initial attempt to rid the world of the Taliban. I have since reconsidered my support, for obvious reasons, namely, we have absolutely ruthless and stupid people running the effort—from both sides of the political aisle. Like the Iraqi caper, we’re on the way to killing more civilians than
Taliban. Hell, the collaterial damage isn’t to the civilians, it’s to the bad guys. The real damage is, and always has been, to civilians. Its what we do best. The American military, still trying to relive the John Wayne movies of their youth, haven’t the foggiest notion of what they’re doing or how to go about doing it. Their methods lack any sense of proportion or common sense; the American military leadership is a perfect mirror of the crisis of political leadership this country has been facing for the last 25 years.

Obama cleans up well like most house negros, but he’s just a step-n-fetchit for the military industrial complex. He senses another Vietnam with its 3 million dead Vietnamese. We now have 1 million dead Iraqis with no end in sight. He sees it alright—another massive moral black eye to American interests and its delusional image of itself as the ‘shining city on the hill.’

“The use of overwhelming force and the inevitable civilian casualties are causing resentment of US and Western forces in Afghanistan.”

Oh my, we can’t have that! We not only have to kick the crap out of third world countries efficiently and competently, we have to do it without causing ‘resentment’—nope, can’t have the natives getting restless with our thuggish imperialism; it could cost us some big bucks.

AP, you and Daugherty ought to form a club: Vote Democrat for the kinder, gentler imperialism that gets results, because we talk a good line.

Unbelievable.

Posted by: black & red at August 16, 2007 8:32 PM
Comment #229682

black & red:
“I supported, with reservations, this initial attempt to rid the world of the Taliban. I have since reconsidered my support, for obvious reasons, namely, we have absolutely ruthless and stupid people running the effort—from both sides of the political aisle.”

So you think because “we have absolutely ruthless and stupid people running the effort-from both sides of the political aisle” that this somehow makes Al Qaeda leaders less ruthless and determined to take back Afghanistan so they can set up their fanatical jihadist training camps, and draw up their next plan to kill as many Americans on American soil as they possibly can?
If so, I think that is an extremely naive position to take. It doesn’t matter that they’re a third world country, what matters is that there is where Al Qaeda has been training fanatics to wage terrorist attacks against Americans.
Afghanistan is the war we’ve needed to fight and win, not Iraq.

“Obama cleans up well like most house negros, but he’s just a step-n-fetchit for the military industrial complex.”

This is an abhorrently, blatantly racist comment. I feel you should be horribly ashamed to have said this.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 16, 2007 9:12 PM
Comment #229684

I didn’t find Obama’s remarks offensive to the troops at all. He was addressing military tactics. Not the behavior of American troops. So the problem with his remarks lies elsewhere—with his military knowledge and his pretense of being a better general than those actually doing the job.

For Obama’s main point to be at all persuasive, he’d have establish two things:

1) That bombing from the air is in fact being used in Afghanistan in operations where military commanders would normally use ground forces but cannot for lack of manpower.

2). And that use of ground forces in these operations would necessarily result in fewer civilian casualties.

Now it’s true that even with precision bombs there is still a risk of collateral damage, but it’s not at all clear that a guided bomb launched from several thousand feet is necessarily more dangerous to civilians than missiles, mortars, rockets, and small arms fire.

Further, even if there were an unlimited number of troops available in Afghanistan, why would military commanders suddenly start using them in these kinds of operations instead of air power? It’s not only the increased risk to troops but also the problems posed by Afghanistan’s terrain in moving troops and equipment around.

None of this means that Obama is necessarily wrong about the need for troops in Afghanistan. Merely that the reasons he gives don’t make a lot of sense.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at August 16, 2007 9:22 PM
Comment #229685


We don’t have enough troops to accomplish the mission and we never will. We could have enough troops to accomplish the mission in Afganistan if we pulled out of Iraq but Iraq has the oil.

What is the mission anyway? Nation building? We seem to not understand that some nations aren’t really nations. Remember Yugoslavia? Iraq was only a nation because the British said it was and because Sadam forced it to be. I doubt that there has ever been a time in Afganistans history when a central government ruled over the entire country. The Taliban didn’t. Afganistan is more like a bunch of counties, each with its own warlord. They have a history of strong local governments and a weak or nonexistant central government. When the coalition leaves, the Afgan government will leave with them.

Posted by: jlw at August 16, 2007 9:24 PM
Comment #229691

This insidious comment by Jack just epitomizes the way the Neocoms create a spin:

So Obama didn’t mean to insult our troops. It was only his inexperience that made him say the stupid things he did. I can accept his appology, although if he keeps on putting his foot into his mouth he may get some kind of infection.

Boy AP, you sure touched some nerves in here….and brought out some old-fashioned racist comments.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at August 16, 2007 10:26 PM
Comment #229692

Jlw, you say that the mission is Afghanistan is impossible, unclear and hopeless, that we don’t and never could have enough troops to accomplish it. But then you turn around and say that we could accomplish just that mission if we pulled out of Iraq. Honestly, this makes no sense to me at all. How can you hold both opinions at once? Please explain.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at August 16, 2007 10:27 PM
Comment #229694

jlw anf all
There was a country that did succeed in uniteing Afganistan for awhile. That would be Persia. There influence runs deep there insocial organization,language and customs etc. Modern Iran has also been helpful in supporting the New Afgan regime and they have said so dispite Bush’s denial. It was the Iranians that push for the word”democracy” to be included in the Afgan Constitution. Co-operation with Iran is the key to succuss in Afganistan and the greater war on terror. Continued bellirgerance from the US is conterproductive and dangerious,and stupid. Just what we have come to expect from the neo-cons.

Posted by: BillS at August 16, 2007 10:37 PM
Comment #229695

Sandra, I don’t see anything the slightest bit racist in Jack’s comment. There was a racist comment in someone else’s post (which Adrienne justifiably pointed out—the only thing, possibly, I’ve ever agreed with Adrienne about). But the author was hardly a “neocon.”

The individual who made the “house negro” remark is anti-war and not Republican or “neocon” by any stretch. That individual is merely making the same nasty slur against Obama that Condi Rice, Colin Powell, and any African-American who doesn’t toe the hard left line is subjected to as a matter of routine in our political environment.

If you guys want to clean house and start calling out members of your own side for this kind of behavior, then my hat’s off to you. It’s about damn time.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at August 16, 2007 10:43 PM
Comment #229698

LO….the racist comment was the one that Adrienne addressed, but which deserved more attention.
Jack’s comment I pointed to specifically in which he created one of his famous spins, and he most certainly is a neocon. So, you can put your hat back on.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at August 16, 2007 11:29 PM
Comment #229700

Adrienne:

“This is an abhorrently, blatantly racist comment. I feel you should be horribly ashamed to have said this.”

I have nothing to apologize for. I can live with my history of relationships with people of other races. What I refuse to put up with are people, black or white or purple, who lay in the weeds pretending to promote some schmarmy, feel-good foreign policy that is nothing more than imperialism with a happy face.

The racism isn’t coming from me, it’s the corporate DLC-types using Obama as some political Oprah to make capitalist imperialism ‘smell good.’ Real thinking people aren’t fooled, least of all the Afghan people.

Your defense of Obama smacks of a duplicity not uncommon from Democrats who think they have the moral ‘inside track’ when measured against the GOP and the neocons.

I’m saying, look at what’s really being said by Hillary, Obama and Edwards when it comes to foreign policy. It is imperialism lite—and in Obama’s case, not lite enough to suit the real racists in the GOP.

Posted by: black & red at August 16, 2007 11:47 PM
Comment #229701
Any officer who needlessly costs the lives of his own troops to save possibly innocent civilians would be relieved of duty

Needlessly!? Saving innocent civilians is the officer’s duty. Any sacrifice to save innocent Afghan civilians isn’t needless; that’s the whole reason that officer and his troops are there.

For Obama’s main point to be at all persuasive, he’d have establish two things:

LO, both of those conditions have been widely reported.

A NATO air strike hit an insurgent base in southern Afghanistan Friday, knocking out some 30 Taliban. The air strike was in retaliation for a militant attack on nearby police posts, but it also killed 25 civilians in the process, including 9 women, 3 children and a village mullah. - 6/23/2007

Again, you Republicans don’t get it. Operations in Afghanistan must be treated as hostage situations. A NYC SWAT team wouldn’t use artillary, mortars or airstrikes in a situation where civilians could be harmed. That’s the mission in Afghanistan as well: Protect the civilians. If civilians die, we lose.

Further, even if there were an unlimited number of troops available in Afghanistan, why would military commanders suddenly start using them in these kinds of operations instead of air power?

To reduce civilian casualties and bring their tactics in line with the mission: Protect Afghan civilians. Duh.

You Republicans who don’t get it — LO and Jack and tomd and y’all — let me ask you this. What is NATO’s mission in Afghanistan?

Posted by: American Pundit at August 17, 2007 12:04 AM
Comment #229703

Sandra, “spin” is largely in the eye of the beholder, and it doesn’t bother me in the least if you want to label Jack’s post (or any of those by others on the conservative side) as “spin.” I call it reason. No—wisdom and enlightenment, or even supreme enlightenment, but you call it spin. Fine. A difference of opinion that’s easy to accept and par for the course in political disagreements. I tend to think that the left-wingers here are probably puking every 5 minutes after all the spinning they do, but that’s just my opinion and you’re no under obligation to share it.

Allegations of racism, however, are a graver matter because racism is pretty much the pinnacle of human stupidity, and if you want to toss accusations like that around you’d damn well be ready to back it up.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at August 17, 2007 12:14 AM
Comment #229711

LO…no allegation whatsoever….but a factual statement.
“Obama cleans up well like most house negros, but he’s just a step-n-fetchit for the military industrial complex.”
http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Step’n+Fetchit

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at August 17, 2007 1:48 AM
Comment #229712

Sandra, I agree—that comment is clearly racist. What I don’t agree with is your earlier post that quotes Jack and then immediately asserts that AP’s post brought out racist “comments” (plural).

I see ONE racist comment here. By an anti-war poster who goes by “black and red.” Your post suggested that there was more than one such comment, and seemed to tie it to more than just one poster, including the person you quoted in the same post with the allegation of racism. Maybe that’s not what you intended, but with your plural use of “comments” that’s how it came across.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at August 17, 2007 2:04 AM
Comment #229719
Our miiltary’s General staff have an obligation to the mission

And which “mission” is it today? this week? this year? The “mission” has changed with every drop in Bush’s approval ratings…

Posted by: Rachel at August 17, 2007 8:02 AM
Comment #229731

Britain shifts focus of its military from Iraq to Afghanistan

Afghanistan “matters to us because a high proportion of the terrorism investigations in the U.K. can be traced back to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area.”

“There is a general feeling in the United Kingdom concerning Iraq, as far as the U.K.’s efforts are concerned, that there is not much more that can be done with military force, so we can logically shift more focus to Afghanistan.”

Declassified data reveal Pakistan’s ties to Taliban

Newly declassified intelligence documents reveal the depth of U.S. officials’ concern that Pakistan was providing funds, arms and troops to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan for years before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

They also show rising frustration at what U.S. officials called Pakistan’s “resistance and/or duplicity” toward Washington’s repeated requests for help in getting the Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden.


Posted by: American Pundit at August 17, 2007 12:14 PM
Comment #229733


L.O.: When we launch a precision guided bomb, from a few thousand feet, at a house or village suspected of harboring taliban or terrorists, It is usually done because we have human intelligence that this is the case. If that human intelligence is wrong or even worse, that human intelligence is fabricated by informants who want to see us fail, then we could inadvertantly kill innocent civilians.

On the other hand, if we were to send in a special forces combat team to surround the location under cover of darkness, then at dawn, call on those inside to come out with their hands up, any resistance from the location would have that precision guided weapon delivered within seconds.

The over reliance of these weapons by the American military has been critized by the Afganistan people, their president and our coalition partners. It is well documented. It is probably the main reason for Karzai’s visit to the U.S.

There is of course a perfectly logical explanation for our over reliance on these weapons. Pressure on the military by the civilian leadership to keep American casualities low for political reasons here at home.

Posted by: jlw at August 17, 2007 12:25 PM
Comment #229737

AP said: “Needlessly!? Saving innocent civilians is the officer’s duty.”

WRONG! AP. Our military commanders have a duty to take reasonable measures to prevent collateral damage. They do not have a duty to lose the battle or conflict because the opponent learns to put innocents between themselves and our forces.

You truly do not understand warfare, or the immensely difficult and rational command decision process which our commanders must incur in weighing losses of their own subordinates or collateral damage in firefight. That decision process has a priority structure, and there isn’t a modern military in a modern nation that does not place a higher value on their troops survivability than on innocents caught between their troops under fire and those firing upon them.

You are thinking and talking like a civilian without combat experience and like a Republican in black and white terms, which armed combat almost NEVER is. I can assure you, the vast majority of our soldiers and commanders will not harm innocent civilians if it can be avoided, while observing the priorities of force protection and mission success first and foremost.

This is as moral as war can ever get. War is by definition immoral, and that is why it should be avoided if at all possible. But our soldiers and military have generally observed and practiced the highest moral standards in the history of warfare, which is why the exceptions (like Mi Lai and Abu Ghraib) tend to become international news and scarce fuel for our enemies.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 17, 2007 12:48 PM
Comment #229738

The U.S. policing Afghanistan? We can’t even police Baltimore.

warlord,druglord,invasion force(USSR),Taliban about sums up Afghanistan. Watch The Wire to find out where their stuff ends ups, or read this BBC article from less than a year ago about the poppy fields and marijuana forests

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5308180.stm

Posted by: ohrealy at August 17, 2007 12:50 PM
Comment #229752

“There is of course a perfectly logical explanation for our over reliance on these weapons”

Yes there is and that is to protect the lives of US soldiers.

Its great how arm-chair generals like Obama, watch “Platoon” and think they know how war really is..

And, IMO, better a hundred of them, than one of ours.

Posted by: kctim at August 17, 2007 2:14 PM
Comment #229757

black & red:
“I have nothing to apologize for. I can live with my history of relationships with people of other races.”

Sounds to me like you’re not only racist, but proudly so?

“What I refuse to put up with are people, black or white or purple, who lay in the weeds pretending to promote some schmarmy, feel-good foreign policy that is nothing more than imperialism with a happy face.

The racism isn’t coming from me, it’s the corporate DLC-types using Obama as some political Oprah to make capitalist imperialism ‘smell good.’”

“Political Oprah” — yet another racist comment you should be ashamed of but, probably won’t, I take it?
What you’ve written here might make more sense if we didn’t know that Afghanistan is crawling with fanatical jihadists being trained by Al Qaeda. You can label the war in Iraq as foreign policy on behalf of capitalist imperialism and I would absolutely agree with you, but not Afghanistan.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 17, 2007 3:34 PM
Comment #229766

Hey AP,
Maybe you also want to check out: what Michelle Obama has to say.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 17, 2007 5:09 PM
Comment #229772

I would like to apologize to posters here, and to AP, for my previous comments about Senator Obama. It was wrong of me to use terms that are obviously ‘incendiary’, and in some quarters, could very well be construed as being racist.

I’m apologizing too, because it is obvious to me that I have offended a number of people for whom I have respect, long-term posters whose opinions and views I value.

I think it is obvious that Senator Obama (and Oprah Winfrey for that matter) are honorable people. I question whether they aren’t being used for nefarious purposes by dishonorable people, using them to placate and lull a people that have been long-time loyal Democratic supporters whose place in our society, IMO, has been slowly erroded nationally by Right-wing rhetoric and policies. I question whether they aren’t being used as success stories to cover the fact that this type of story is no longer a possibility for far too many of the Dems’ constituents.

I think this is a legitimate concern that progressives, and the country in general, need to address. However, it was wrong of me to do it in such a clumsy and unfeeling way.

In any event, I hope posters and AP will accept my heartfelt apology.

Posted by: black & red at August 17, 2007 6:30 PM
Comment #229775

Adrienne:

“What you’ve written here might make more sense if we didn’t know that Afghanistan is crawling with fanatical jihadists being trained by Al Qaeda.”

Perhaps. One could say that there are just as many in Pakistan and the Sudan and elsewhere.

The problem: since there is, evidently, no longer a reliable and adversary press, much less an honest and open government, the American people
have to take the government’s and the military’s word for what is really going on there. Their collective track record is abysmal. AP’s article cites only one of the problems of a supposedly democratic country trying to look over their government’s shoulder to ascertain the truth.

There has been so much lying and obfuscation and disinformation, I am no longer as sanguine about the United States’ intervention in Afghanistan as I once was.

Posted by: black & red at August 17, 2007 6:44 PM
Comment #229776

black & red,…..please don’t interpret my response as self importance, by any means, but apology noted and accepted, as well as recognition of a pretty cool character trait.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at August 17, 2007 7:12 PM
Comment #229777

black and red, I think your apology was appropriate. I also think there is merit to some of your arguments about American imperialism residing in the bosoms of politicians on both sides of the aisle.

I trust Obama’s sense of judgment and American interests better than most of the candidates currently running. I think there is merit to the claim that Obama is inexperienced as President and CIC. But, there have been VERY few presidents in our history who have been experienced before their On the Job Training upon being elected. Very few indeed. Truman believed himself to be unprepared when FDR’s death thrust him into office as a wartime president. He succeeded in winning WWII nonetheless and protecting and defending our Constitution and these U.S.

The CIC President does not have to be an experienced combatant to succeed as President. In fact, Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of electing military hardened persons to the Oval Office, and he knew what he was talking about having been a General before being elected. The President must have the vision of America’s history, its present condition and circumstances, and her future, and weigh the consequences of options in decisions of war, and calculate whether those options can 1) preserve our heritage, 2) resolve our current situation, and 3) foster a sustainable future in which the goals of peace, prosperity, and promotion of the general welfare are made optimal.

This kind of thinking requires a person of education, a person capable of philosophical and technical inquiry, and a person with an enormous capacity for rational (as in ratio) thinking which permits weighing options for the one most likely to achieve America’s preservation and vision of its future. I personally think Obama has that capacity, and is capable of weighing our Intelligence Community’s advice and our Military’s advice, and coming to a decision that may or may NOT accommodate that advice, but, will insure the preservation of America’s heritage and optimal future.

Above all, I want a president who can and will refuse the Military’s or Intelligence Community’s advice if warranted by a broader assessment of the situation than the more narrow views of any department under his command. Such was the case with Truman in firing MacArthur, such was the case with JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis, and such was the case with Gerald Ford’s ending the Viet Nam War.

My problem with Obama does not reside in his ability to make appropriate decisions regarding the application of our military forces. My problem with Obama lies in not knowing enough specifics about his assumptions regarding economics, our future work force needs, and entitlement spending - tax balances and deficits and debt, campaign finance reform, and education.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 17, 2007 7:24 PM
Comment #229789

black & red, noted, accepted, and I’m really glad you said that!

You wrote:
“One could say that there are just as many in Pakistan and the Sudan and elsewhere.”

I agree, though I don’t see much difference between Afghanistan and Pakistan since both seem to harbor Al Qaeda in that region. Pakistan is much worse in a way — because they have the bomb, and we’re allowing them to buy F-16’s and other military weapons from us simply because they attempt to act like they’re one of our allies, when it seems obvious they really aren’t.

“The problem: since there is, evidently, no longer a reliable and adversary press, much less an honest and open government, the American people have to take the government’s and the military’s word for what is really going on there.”

Again, I agree, which is why I read the foreign (European) press more often than not to try to understand what is truly going on. They’ve been saying that most of the problems are steming from the Al Qaeda network from Afghanistan/Pakistan region, and I believe that this is true.

“Their collective track record is abysmal.”

No doubt about that. Everything in this country seems geared to back up whatever the government wants us to believe. Not just on this, mind you, but on many subjects. And often this just consists of omission — of nothing being said about something, rather than carefully crafted disinformation.

“AP’s article cites only one of the problems of a supposedly democratic country trying to look over their government’s shoulder to ascertain the truth.”

Yes, but it is an important problem in my view.

“There has been so much lying and obfuscation and disinformation, I am no longer as sanguine about the United States’ intervention in Afghanistan as I once was.”

I want us to go after Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Because of what happened on 9/11. Maybe you think that’s wrong, but if you had lost a friend that day, perhaps you’d feel differently about this?
Personally, I don’t give a damn whether it seems imperialistic or not — Americans are dead because of those rat bastards, and Bin Laden has never been captured and killed. I think that should be the objective, and I don’t think we need to apologize to the world for doing all we can to meet it.
Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it honestly is the way I feel.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 17, 2007 9:56 PM
Comment #229794

Adrienne- Excellent post, always a wealth of information which I look forward to reading.
Thank you being a very informative read.

Posted by: -DAVID- at August 17, 2007 11:14 PM
Comment #229803

You don’t need the foreign press to learn that Al Qaida’s leadership is based in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region. It’s common knowledge. Where is the American press saying it’s based? Belgium?

On one hand Democrats in general tell us that fighting terrorism is a law enforcement issue more than a military one, and that diplomacy and international cooperation is paramount, but at the same time the hard left-wingers among them applaud Obama for wanting to send huge numbers of additional troops into Afghanistan and to unilaterally attack Pakistan. How does that make any sense at all?

One thing I happen to agree with the saner Democrats about (and it’s something which doesn’t conflict with we’re actually trying to do now), is that getting to Al Qaida’s leadership is an INTELLIGENCE problem, and hence a diplomatic one.

If you concentrate every single American soldier, tank, helicopter, bomber and warship on Afghanistan, it won’t suddenly yield up the information about what cave or hut Osama bin Laden is currently hiding in. For that you need good intelligence, and that’s something you’re just not going to get if you alienate Pakistan with threats and bluster of the kind Obama has been indulging in.

That’s not to say, however, that Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only or even the most important front in fighting Al Qaida. Al Qaida itself tells us where the main front in the war is: Iraq. Even if we capture or kill Osama (Allah willing), we won’t have defeated them unless we defeat them on the battlefront which they themselves have declared the primary focus of their jihad.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at August 18, 2007 12:39 AM
Comment #229808
You truly do not understand warfare

You’re making my point, David. You — and a buch of other people, mostly Republicans — fail to understand that we are not at war in Afghanistan.

We’re involved in a NATO peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. Not warfare. The mission is to protect civilians. The mission is to provide security — it’s police work.

The mission requires that US troops protect Afghan civilians at all costs.

If the mission is to “take that hill”, then the commanding officer is expected to take that hill whatever the cost. In Afghanistan, the mission is to provide security for Afghan civilians. If civilians die, we lose.

NATO in Afghanistan

Posted by: American Pundit at August 18, 2007 2:02 AM
Comment #229809

LO:
“You don’t need the foreign press to learn that Al Qaida’s leadership is based in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region.”

Yes, one does need the foreign press to learn who, what, and where Al Qaeda is. They know far more than we do, and aren’t afraid to share that knowledge with their people.

“It’s common knowledge.”

Oh yeah? Go ask your average Fox News viewer and see what kind of answers you get.

“Where is the American press saying it’s based?”

Exactly where you’re (wrongly) claiming they’re based:

“That’s not to say, however, that Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only or even the most important front in fighting Al Qaida. Al Qaida itself tells us where the main front in the war is: Iraq.”
The truth is, the Iraqi’s hate the Al Qaeda presence in their country. Once (if) we leave, they’re going to be toast.

“On one hand Democrats in general tell us that fighting terrorism is a law enforcement issue more than a military one, and that diplomacy and international cooperation is paramount, but at the same time the hard left-wingers among them applaud Obama for wanting to send huge numbers of additional troops into Afghanistan and to unilaterally attack Pakistan.”

Wrong. And you are spinning like a top here. It isn’t huge numbers, and Obama was directly referring to the opportunity that Bushco TURNED DOWN: the chance to send about a hundred paratroopers into a REMOTE location of Pakistan to take out high ranking members of Al Qaeda leadership.

“How does that make any sense at all?”

Makes good sense. High ranking members, remote location, good intell, small numbers of our troops. No, not just good, but Perfect Sense.

“One thing I happen to agree with the saner Democrats about (and it’s something which doesn’t conflict with we’re actually trying to do now), is that getting to Al Qaida’s leadership is an INTELLIGENCE problem, and hence a diplomatic one.”

It’s intelligence and military both.

“If you concentrate every single American soldier, tank, helicopter, bomber and warship on Afghanistan, it won’t suddenly yield up the information about what cave or hut Osama bin Laden is currently hiding in. For that you need good intelligence, and that’s something you’re just not going to get if you alienate Pakistan with threats and bluster of the kind Obama has been indulging in.”

Kissing Pakistan’s ass and selling them F-16’s isn’t any way to get Bin Laden either. Especially since they’ve been aiding and abetting him in hiding. They need to see that we’re willing to act on good intell whenever, wherever, and even without their explicit approval. Most especially when it means we can get Al Qaeda members without killing a lot of innocent civilians.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 18, 2007 2:13 AM
Comment #229838


Staying in Iraq until 5,000 or 10,000 American troops are killed won’t get the American oil companies the oil either.

Posted by: jlw at August 18, 2007 5:24 PM
Comment #229839


L.O.: If threatening Pakistan with military force won’t get us Bin Laden, what will threatening Iran with military force get us?

Posted by: jlw at August 18, 2007 5:28 PM
Comment #229874

jlw
Your numbers are wrong. It takes a minimum of 50000 dead soldiers for before we get out of stupid wars if history is any judge.

I should also point out that
getting” Iraqs oil is not as important as controlling it. Even now when the oil exports from Iraq are minimum ,big oil is making more than ever.

Posted by: bills at August 19, 2007 12:17 AM
Comment #229908

The democrats need to get a spine and confront this issue head on. The war college had/has a plan to win the war. It would take expanding the military only in a manner that could be done by a draft. Rather than the republicans explaining how democratic strategy will fail bring the republicans into a vote for the draft to get the 600,000 + troops into Iraqu. The war plan would give us a chance. It would mean following the war college plan to the letter and bringing in Colleen Powell who would gladly lead that type of army that fits his book - overwhelming power.

Lets not let the republicans sit back and feed the nation this crap that their plan is working and the democrats are going to cause the inevitable genocide that is going to occur w/ withdrawl.

I am not for a draft, I am for uniting the country with what is realistic.

Posted by: Jason at August 19, 2007 10:56 AM
Comment #229914

AP said: “You’re making my point, David. You — and a buch of other people, mostly Republicans — fail to understand that we are not at war in Afghanistan.”

OMG! Now you are playing Republican word games. Tell the dead and wounded in Afghanistan that we are not at war in Afghanistan. You dishonor our troops there by saying their role is traffic cop issuing citations as opposed to be shot and bombed at.

The credibility of your comment’s word games really dropped. We are indeed still warring with the Taliban and al-Queda in Afghanistan. Changing definitions to suit your argument is what I expect to read in many Republican comments. Appears you believe in the strategy of adopting the tactics of your adversary.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 19, 2007 11:51 AM
Comment #229922

UK Guardian:
US documents show Pakistan gave Taliban military aid

From the article:

The Pakistani government gave substantial military support to the Taliban in the years leading up to the September 11 attacks, sending arms and soldiers to fight alongside the militant Afghan movement, according to newly released US official documents.

Islamabad has acknowledged diplomatic and economic links with the Taliban but has denied direct military support. The US intelligence and state department documents, released under the country’s freedom of information act, show that Washington believed otherwise.


Pakistan’s soldiers ‘huddling in their bases’ in tribal regions
*Army paralysed by Taliban threat, says ex-CIA agent
*Retired officers accused of helping militants

From the article:

The Pakistani army is paralysed by the growing Taliban threat and some retired officers are covertly aiding the militants, according to a former CIA officer.

Soldiers posted to Waziristan, a tribal area that hosts an estimated 2,000 al-Qaida fighters, are “huddling in their bases, doing nothing”, said Art Keller, a CIA case officer who was posted to Pakistan last year.

“Their approach was to pretend that nothing was wrong because any other approach would reveal that they were unwilling and unable to do anything about Talibanisation,” said Mr Keller, who has visited Waziristan.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 19, 2007 1:00 PM
Comment #229933

And we come back full circle, regardless of what we call the war, or where we wage it…..our troop levels are decimated.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070819/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_iraq_out_of_troops_2
I’ve got news folks, but if the powers that be continue to draw from and demand more and more from the existing troops, we’re screwed. They’re tired, worn out and fed up, and we’re going to start seeing reports of AWOL….and who the hell could blame them?

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at August 19, 2007 4:43 PM
Comment #229945

I am not for a draft, I am for uniting the country with what is realistic.
Posted by: Jason at August 19, 2007 10:56 AM

Jason,

If you are for uniting this country, it sounds like you’ve been on the wrong team for the last six years buddy!!!

JD

Posted by: JD at August 19, 2007 6:17 PM
Comment #229947

This is as moral as war can ever get. War is by definition immoral, and that is why it should be avoided if at all possible. But our soldiers and military have generally observed and practiced the highest moral standards in the history of warfare, which is why the exceptions (like Mi Lai and Abu Ghraib) tend to become international news and scarce fuel for our enemies.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 17, 2007 12:48 PM

Holy Cow, David, you finally get it! Have you become an ultra-conservative neocon? This is exactly what the Red Column has been saying since the War on Terror began! All you needed to add was that by keeping the flames of Abu Ghraib alive, and Obama’s claims of U.S. soldiers bombing civilian targets, it only pours gas on the fire of the insurgents’ and radical clerics’ messages.

JD

Posted by: JD at August 19, 2007 6:28 PM
Comment #229969

Cheney in ‘00: Invading Baghdad Would Make Us “An Imperial Power”


Active duty soldiers in Iraq have written a NYT op-ed.

Quote from the article:

To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 20, 2007 3:17 AM
Comment #229975

Adrienne,

Awesome link to the NYT op-ed! This is exactly what I’ve been hearing through my nephew. Someone should xerox that article and send copies to every single member of Congress, and in triplicate at least to the White House. All along our biggest mistake there has been to try to create our kind of Iraq instead of letting Iraqis make their own. If we keep this up, the only thing that will unify Iraq will be a desire to kick us out.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at August 20, 2007 10:07 AM
Comment #229982

JD said: “All you needed to add was that by keeping the flames of Abu Ghraib alive, and Obama’s claims of U.S. soldiers bombing civilian targets, it only pours gas on the fire of the insurgents’ and radical clerics’ messages.”

And it is obvious to me YOU don’t get it. America does not tolerate inhumanity regardless of whether it is domestic or foreign. The first step in America refusing such tolerance is her First Amendment guarantee that the Public be made aware when our Government soils our nation’s
reputation. We air our dirty laundry to insure we don’t end up having to wear it in perpetuity and become as base and disreputable as our enemies.

When our soldiers, commanders, or even CIC, screw the pooch, America is strong enough and honorable enough to hold them to account, and reject their actions as being representative of what America stands for. At least, that was the case until GW Bush was elected, and protected, from accountability by a serious imbalance in the expansion of Executive Authority and Power.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 20, 2007 11:19 AM
Comment #229986

JD
You know people just might notice they are being bombed without Obama,the press or whoever it is you wish to scapegoat at the moment telling them.

Posted by: BillS at August 20, 2007 12:28 PM
Comment #230005

Adrienne, thanks for the article, and leatherankh, thanks for the suggestion to forward it. Been done…

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at August 20, 2007 4:14 PM
Comment #230008
If we keep this up, the only thing that will unify Iraq will be a desire to kick us out.

Um, you’re a few years behind on that…
As I wrote in November 2005

From a poll taken in April 2005 :

• Forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American troops are justified - rising to 65 per cent in the British-controlled Maysan province

• 82 per cent are “strongly opposed” to the presence of coalition troops

• less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security

• 67 per cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation

• 43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened

• 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2007 4:23 PM
Comment #230011

Since Obama is such an expert on this topic maybe we can get him to tell us how many troops he thinks are enough and how long he wants them to be there for. If he feels we need more troops in Afghanistan does that mean he feels the same about Iraq? Also, how many US troops does he anticipate having on the ground in Pakistan prior to the bombing raids he wants to use to try to take out Bin laden?
If any Republican made the same comments Obama makes the left would crucify them but when Obama speaks his leftest minions think whatever he says is just great.

Posted by: Carnak at August 20, 2007 4:39 PM
Comment #230013

Carnak, it is not feasible to ask a candidate for President such specific questions until they have the intelligence and secret information available only to the CIC, JCS, and Intelligence Communities.

If I were a candidate I would refuse to answer such specifics citing the lack of information that only the President has full and complete access to.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 20, 2007 4:57 PM
Comment #230206

You got to love Obama. Surrender to our enemies and attack our allies. What a man! He’s got the plan.

It’s called self-defeat. He’s blowing up and exploding over foreign policy. Every time he opens his mouth he proves the average reporter knows more about foreign policy than he does.

So who cares? Hillary is the one that will be the lefts choice. Obama will be her token-black vp.

I know, that sounds harsh. But it’s true. So lets admit it. Race and Sex is a factor. Hillary will be the woman, and Obama the black. Unless Obama turns white overnight…..Hillary will select him as her VP.

And pray to God the idiot doesn’t land himself into the big chair because President Hillary is taken out by a “right wing conspiracy”. LAUGH.

Posted by: Stephenl at August 21, 2007 11:30 PM
Comment #230225

stephenl, it is an appropriate time to point out that GW Bush’s knowledge of world affairs couldn’t fill a thimble when he was running for President in 2000. And Obama has an ability to learn which far exceeds Bush’s. How can you tell. Bush is touting the same failed messages and policies with Iraq as when he started. A person capable of learning changes and adapts to failure changing the outcome into into success. Einstein I believe it was said, Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Bush as President hasn’t changed anything about his beliefs or policies since he was first elected governor of Texas.

Obama may not win the nomination. But, you can bank on his recognizing if weakness in foreign affairs cost him his bid, and his running again with foreign affairs knowledge as his strongest suit. An incredible difference between the two gentleman. GW Bush’s entire career history reads like a tale of mediocrity and failure, from his sports team, his oil venture, to his terms as Governor and now as President.

His one great success to his credit was kicking the booze habit and holding onto Laura as a result. That spoke to character. But, not to qualifications as a successful leader or manager which he has failed in big ways in every other endeavor he ever attempted from Yale to his presidency.

His second less stunning success was making the connections and affiliations (with help from Dad’s connections) with the people who could promote him again and again to new heights of incompetence. The dictionary, under Peter Principle, should have a reference: ‘See George W. Bush.’

Without Rove and huge dollar PR and Marketing firms and the RNC strategists, he could never have sold himself on his record to the American people. Which is why his record did not become common public knowledge until after he became the Failure in Chief.

One thing is for sure, Rove and other Republicans fear Obama far more than they do Hillary, which is why they are promoting a Hillary primary win. I listen to Republican pundits and hear “Hillary has it in the bag”. I listen to Democratic pundits and I hear, Obama is far from being out of the primary race. There is a reason for this discrepancy in prognostications.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 22, 2007 3:09 AM
Comment #230238

stephen said: “American gave him a much stronger support in 2004 than Clinton ever got. “

And polls show about half who voted for him in 2004 now very much regret their decision. That pretty much says it all.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 22, 2007 9:55 AM
Comment #230531
You dishonor our troops

Wow. Who sounds like a Republican now, David? And what a load of crap. The issue is the mission, not the troops.

So I’ll take your change of subject and personal attack as a token of surrender and I graciously accept. The US is engaged in a pacekeeping role in Afghanistan and any engagement where civilians might be involved should be treated as a hostage situation.

And Obama gets it. More troops means more options and fewer casualties.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 24, 2007 11:25 AM
Comment #230628

BTW, Lt. Col. John Nagl, co-author of the Army’s counter-insurgency manual, was on the Daily Show last night. He characterized the mission as “protect the civilians at all costs”.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 25, 2007 12:23 AM
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