Obama (Inadvertently) Promises Long Stay in Iraq

Dems don’t really want to withdraw troops from Iraq or even debate the issue in a fair and open forum. Instead they deal in innuendo and subterfuge. Senate Dems chicken away from a debate. Obama claims he would withdraw, but come back if Al Qaeda set up in Iraq. Since Al Qaeda is in Iraq now, that means he would not leave as promised.

I was talking to an Iraqi who wants us to stay in his country for a long time. To my surprise, he said he hoped Obama would win. I told him that Obama had promised to leave soon after the election and that was what my friend did not want. This is what he told me in response.

Obama says he will withdraw, but he is not telling the truth or at least if he becomes president he will understand that withdrawal is not possible in the near term. So he will keep U.S. troops in Iraq. BUT this is a better scenario than if John McCain does the same because if Obama does it, the left wing with either feel so disillusions that they will keep their mouths shut or more likely convince themselves that it is a good and necessary thing to do. In either case, American resolve to stay in Iraq is strengthened by an Obama victory.

It is an appealing thought: Obama’s smiling face and soaring rhetoric put at the service of American interests in Iraq. I wish I thought it was really so simple. I would feel less anxious about an Obama presidency. Unfortunately, I think Obama believes his rhetoric. On this issue, he has drunk the Kool-Aid. I believe he would come around when reality bit him on the behind, but for those crucial first months of his presidency the uncertainly would give our enemies breathing space and force us to win back with more American blood and treasure some of the space we have already taken. The PR value of sticking it to moveon.org and the loony left just isn’t worth it.

As for the Senate Dems, they are just pathetic. They boldly ask for a straight up fight on this issue and then chicken out when their challenge is answered. Harry Reid knows a lot about defeat and followed the same strategy of preemptive surrender that he advocated in Iraq. Of course in this case it was a good thing.

It will soon be 3 am for the American people (to turn a Hillary phrase.) When they give it enough thought, I think they will make the right choice.

Posted by Jack at February 29, 2008 11:46 PM
Comments
Comment #246815
Senator Feingold argues the war in Iraq has diverted attention from a growing threat posed by al-Qaida…Because of the lack of support, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid shelved the legislation for now, but said the time that senators spent discussing it had been useful…Reid vowed to return to the debate in the coming months, when lawmakers would begin considering the administration’s request for another $100 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…A report by the committee’s Democratic staff members estimates that the economic cost of the Iraq war has exceeded $1 trillion.

Above are some important points that Jack didn’t touch on that were in the article he linked. The title for his thread doesn’t make sense, but then Jack has a knack for the flair. But since combats deaths are down to 50 per month in Iraq, I’m sure Jack finds that acceptable. But it takes a Neocon to believe that dividing a nation into three parts, is creating unity there and a safer world for us all.

It will soon be 3 am for the American people (to turn a Hillary phrase.) When they give it enough thought, I think they will make the right choice.

I agree with his last statement though, but I doubt we are voting for the same candidate.

Posted by: Cube at March 1, 2008 1:33 AM
Comment #246816

Good post Jack. The only thing about McCain I really liked was that he understood global politics. Now that the bitterness of the primary has worn off, sorry for that by the way, I will be voting for him.

I watched that debate and that question’s answers made me laugh. Billary wouldn’t answer “hypotheticals”, huh? Still confused on that, a lot of hypotheticals will come up dear. Obama reserves the right, as president, to re-invade to keep us safe, I guess like Bush did.

Do these fools really not see that it’s beneficial to keep these insane people occupied until we figure out an option that makes all happy. The Catholic side of me does not want to go in and murder all radical muslims but they do want me dead and I’ve done nothing to them so I don’t know the answer. The world is getting smaller every day and these specific muslims have been a big problem for thousands of years. I guess I’d be on board for some kind of dialog just for blood’s sake but I wouldn’t expect anything.

Posted by: andy at March 1, 2008 1:39 AM
Comment #246818

Andy,
McCain’s understanding of foreign policy comes through a filter, through his position on the Armed Services Committee, and through his personal experience during the Vietnam War. As a result, he sees the world as a place to be confronted by our military; at least, that is what he tells us with his rhetoric. As we have seen under the Bush administration, unilaterally confronting the world with our military works very, very poorly. McCain offers more of the same, a continuation of Bush policies.

We cannot afford this approach, figuratively and literally.

The War on Terror and an obsession with radical Islamic fundamentalists does not deserve our primary focus. The constant drumbeat of fear undermines our confidence as a country and our ability to work with allies, and it tears the country apart here at home.

Jack,
Regardless of who wins the election, we cannot afford Iraq. The economy will be the primary topic in November, and we are in very bad shape. Advocating the continued loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq will not be an acceptable position for Americans.

Republicans had their day in the sun. They had their chance, and they blew it. Republicans refused to pay for the war with taxes. As a result, the Bush tax cuts cratered the economy. It’s already a deep hole. The dollar has lost half of its value against the Euro in just 7 years. Inflation is taking off, because the plunging dollar contributes to commodity fueled inflation. Funding the debt requires foreign investors, and they will not be anxious to invest when the Federal Reserve drops rates below inflation. A negative rate of return is not acceptable to investors, especially when the prospect of inflation is thrown in.

The Fed has poured enormous sums of money into major banks in an effort to stave off a complete meltdown. But that can’t stop the tanking prices of real estate, which causes more foreclosures, which creates a feedback loop.

We lost Iraq a long time ago. But it takes a long time for all those bad military and economic policies to become evident. We’re all going to suffer the consequences, and “staying the course” is not a viable option.

Posted by: phx8 at March 1, 2008 2:08 AM
Comment #246819

phx8…I know McCain is a vet of old wars. But, and this is the only thing that I think expeirence is important, he’s been in Washington all these years through recent and present wars.

You say he’s using fear. I say both side try to use many fear issue’s. We just happen own the issue on the top fear. That doesn’t make me proud by the way.

If your side is lucky enough to win the minds of the majority for many years, I hope you all pour that much money into global warming or the likes. The money will always go somewhere, I just feel at this point in time it’s best used fighting terrorists.

Posted by: andy at March 1, 2008 2:30 AM
Comment #246822

Andy,
I don’t see Obama as a politician promoting fear. Recognizing problems is not the same as promoting fear. What makes Obama attractive is the hope he be the kind of leader the US needs- a positive, optimistic, unifying force. He talks about putting aside the idea that America consists of two antagonistic sides with irreconbilable agendas, and while the cynic in me wonders if it might be merely naive or impractical, putting aside the antagonisms of the past years seems like a very, very good idea.

The other day I saw Rove bloviating on some program or other. I was really struck by just how much evil that guy projects. Everything he says reeks of divisiveness and a win/lose approach, with no prisoners taken and no quarter offered. Ultimately it’s a destructive approach to politics and life.

No one doubts there are bad people out there. I think everyone gets that. But it has been center stage for years, and constantly worrying and stoking fears about terrorism is, in the long run, not realistic or practical, because the fears and focus of policy are disproportionate to the actual threat to the US. It’s just not a practical way of dealing with the world.

Posted by: phx8 at March 1, 2008 2:54 AM
Comment #246825

Angelina Jolie will probably take a lot of crap from the loony left, but like every other fair minded person who has actually been to Iraq recently and understands the situation, she sees the need to finish the job.

When Obama gets a little more experience, he will come to the same point of view, but I fear lots of trouble in the meantime.

Nobody wants to stay in Iraq longer than we need to. We all HOPE for something better. Some people understand the REAL situation; others do not.

We all know that George Bush was president when we went in and that Hillary Clinton and John McCain voted for the conflict. Obama had the luxury of not being there, so he gets to say he would have voted no. None of this matters to the choices we have in Iraq now.

Obama is a blank slate, but he will not HAVE a blank slate as president.

Posted by: Jack at March 1, 2008 6:36 AM
Comment #246829

The conditions in question are more the result of the willing cooperation of two of the major sides. If they decide it’s more worth their while to fight it out, the blood will start running again. The real problem with your confident assertions is that our military’s actually not the biggest part of the equation of what’s keeping the peace. The sudden transition from extreme violence to the more moderate kind we now see only came after Sunnis and Shia decided to make certain cease-fires. That, though, they could have done on their own.

Let’s ask the question: will there be more troops to come back and re-energize the surge, should that be necessary? No. If the cease-fires fall apart, the political deals having not been made permanent, we will not have the forces to pacify Iraq anymore than we had them before.

There are no real plans as to how to get this war done and over with. Everything depends on good luck, and that’s what got us into trouble in the first place: Bush and the brass underneath him took too many chances without contingency plans to deal with the failure of any of his main strategies.

To the average American, this is what their impression is: sure the violence is down, but is this victory? We’ve seen the Bush administration stubbornly pushing the “stay the course” strategy before, emotionally blackmailing people by saying that disagreeing with the strategy means abandoning the Iraqis and not supporting the troops. This seems like a variation on the old theme. Without a plausible, near-term coda, Americans have no reason that this isn’t anything more than Bush’s attempt to keep the ball rolling past 2008, so he can blame the less than ideal departure from Iraq on the Democrat that comes after him, instead of taking responsibilities that made such a failure the likely outcome.

I think Angelina Jolie is a charitable person, and pretty hot, and I doubt the left (loonie or otherwise) will interpret her statement as a betrayal; either she or a PR person probably composed the message so as to be diplomatic to all sides.

I think Obama, more than anybody else, has the best chance of ending the war soon. He’s got no good reason to go back on his word, and cut his own political throat, but at the same time, his approach to campaigning indicates he can think outside the box on these things.

I think it would be rather sad if “experience” leads him to reconfirm the aimless, disorganized strategy of the Bush administration. You’ve got so many elements of your plan working at cross purposes, it’s not funny. I mean, when you have Turkey invading the top part of the country, and neither the Iraqis nor the Americans able to do much about it, just how much can this administration have its ducks in a row?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 1, 2008 8:45 AM
Comment #246831

Jack,

Riddle me this: what would you consider “success” in Iraq? The end result we all want is for the troops to come home, right? The rub, so to speak, is when. The only way there can be “success” is if the Iraqi government has the strength and stability to stand on it’s own, and will they ever really be willing to do so as long as we are there? Of course not. That is why we must leave.

Let me be clear, though. I do not advocate just up and pulling out. But until we begin a withdrawal, the Iraqi government will continue to depend on us as their security force. Until we do so, they will not take governance of their own country seriously.

Oh, and let’s not torture the English language anymore. al-Qaida is not in Iraq. There is an organization called “al-Qaida in Iraq” which has minimal ties to the real al-Qaida. They are for the most part a home-grown insurgency with different goals and different methods than bin Laden’s organization. All you are doing is jumping on the rhetorical bandwagon along with McCain in a sad attempt to score some political points on Obama. Booooring.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at March 1, 2008 9:46 AM
Comment #246832

Jack,

First of all, congratulations for adding Angelina Jolie to your foreign policy team.

There is nothing new here. Obama has never been committed to COMPLETELY withdrawing from Iraq in the near term.

In the HYPOTHETICAL scenario Russert set up, the Iraqi government tells us to completely withdraw. In this specific scenario, Obama agrees to withdraw. Then in part two of the scenario, “al Qaeda resurges and Iraq goes to hell” (Russert’s words). So the implication of the question is that FIRST al Qaeda appears to be under control, THEN the Iraqis ask us to leave, and THEN it resurges. In this case, Obama says he would “act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad”. He doesn’t specifically commit to invading Iraq.

I spell this all out in detail to make clear that Obama was responding to a series of hypotheticals. He wasn’t laying out plans to leave abruptly leave Iraq and then invade again. Anyone says this is severely twisting his words.

I can see now why politicians don’t like answering hypotheticals. People strip away the context to make you look bad. It was a similar situation when he was asked about attacking a target in Pakistan.

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 1, 2008 10:07 AM
Comment #246833

Jack; We all like to interpret others’ words to fit our own philosophy and/or prejudice. You have just done this with Obama’s statement, giving it your meaning instead of what was actually said.
This is one thing the Dems haven’t had to do for the last 7 years. There has never been any doubt about what Bush said.
It just depends on whether you like what you’ve been hearing all these years.
I Don’t!
JP

Posted by: Jackp at March 1, 2008 10:30 AM
Comment #246836

Stephen

Your picture of Iraq is really out of date and not completely accurate even back in 2006. We are working very hard to sustain the peace and build the structures of civil society. The military has radically changed its doctrines and everybody understands that the military piece of this puzzle is necessary but not sufficient.

We have “stayed the course” only in that we have not left and run away. Everything else has changed based on changing assessments of conditions. The success if phenomenal. Al Anbar –triangle of death – is now generally peaceful, with markets open and people rebuilding. In the south civilian reconstruction teams move with minimal security. Everywhere the structures of peace are coming up.

Structures of peace. This is important. Peace takes more than just the absence of war. It takes time and security to let those structures grow and flourish.

The surge was never supposed to be only military. It is not meant to last forever. The Iraqi security and police forces are taking over large sections of responsibility and doing a good job. This is what success looks like.

MY personal opinion is that there is no way we can lose this EXCEPT if our political classes in the U.S. fail us. Obama promises defeat. I cannot but deplore that. Harry Reid says we are already defeated. Nancy Pelosi says we failed already. I suggest they spend a little more time with those who know better and put the good of their country and the peace of the world ahead of their partisan gain, hatred and fear mongering. Some Americans have the courage to finish this job, even if some of our politicians fail the test.

Re Obama going back on his word – I am counting on him being smart enough to do just that. You criticize Bush for staying the course and keeping his word when it didn’t always make sense. Perhaps Obama will do better.

Finally, the strategy in Iraq today is not aimless or disorganized or even Bush’s. The American strategy in Iraq is adapting to conditions and it is working. This is no longer 2006.

The left needs to update its facts and lose the hatred.

Leather

Al Qaeda is in Iraq. Many indeed are home grown Iraqis and they try to send in foreign fighter every day and they would succeed more often if we didn’t capture of kill them on the way. This is an inconvenient truth for Obama. He can say that they are there because Bush opened the door, but that does not change the reality of today.

Al Qaeda today in Iraq is like a pathogen that had been mostly killed by anti-biotic. The patient feels better, but if the job is not finished, the disease returns, stronger and more resistant.

Success in Iraq, as I have written hundreds of times, is a reasonably democratic and stable country that is not a threat to its neighbors. The Iraqis, with our help, are on the way to achieving that. They are building the structures of stability. Just as in our country, their legislature is screwed up, but, just as in our country, that doesn’t mean the whole country is.

Woody

Obama says he will be out in (what?) sixty days. If he withdraws in relation to actual changes in Iraq, he is using the Bush plan and why does he even talk about that?

So I agree with what you think Obama meant and indeed if we get Al Qaeda completely out of Iraq and the Iraqi government asks us to leave, I think we should go. IF is the big word.

BTW – me and Angelina. I am glad to welcome her to my team. I might accept her as a member even if she disagreed with my policy opinions.

Jackp

So do you agree with Woody that what Obama meant was a withdrawal based on conditions in Iraq and the wishes of the Iraqi government (i.e. more of less the Bush strategy)? OR is Obama really going to cut and run soon after he takes office and if he does will he come back when Al Qaeda is resurgent?

Posted by: Jack at March 1, 2008 11:43 AM
Comment #246839

There is a big difference between having some al Qaeda in Iraq and al Qaeda using Iraq as a primary base of operations…

Same as if there were an outpost of 100 US troops in Baghdad or having 180,000 troops with multiple outposts in Iraq giving ultimatums to the “government” of Iraq…

Posted by: Rachel at March 1, 2008 11:52 AM
Comment #246845

Is “experience” a good thing when used as an excuse for ideologicaly driven poor decisions? Does leaving Iraq mean we are “running away?”
Would discontinuing the hair raising expense, in both lives and dollars, be “bad for our country”?
Obama is not a “blank slate” (poor euphemism for “inexperienced”) to me. I have taken the time to read his books, to see how he reasons things out, how he deals with being attacked, what he stands for. The American people will see, as the campaign goes on, that Obama is a powerhouse.

It’s like Barack says; experience doesn’t trump good judgement. The small resume/not enough experience argument does not hold water. Just look at all the experience in the bush administration; from Cheney on down, piss-poor judgement, time and again. He is right: people will get this.

I love how Obama seems to get his point across without rancor.One of his main points is that fighting amongst ourselves is killing our country. How is not fighting a war in a country in which we have no business being in “running away”? Seems to me it would be good judgement.

The underlying bias for war strictly on ideological terms results in a faulty argument to stay in that war. Our ongoing moral and financial bankruptcy is nearing completion. If you choose not to join in as we try to institute a new way, to try to regain our moral and economic power, at least try not to be an impediment.

Posted by: steve miller at March 1, 2008 12:42 PM
Comment #246847

Woody
The Mighty Eagle much prefers gazing at Jolie than that fat arse of Oprah….

Jack

I have a question: Obama has been a “Christian” for 20 years….which puts him in his 20’s…was he alsways a Christian or did he convert from Islam?

Posted by: sicilian Eagle at March 1, 2008 12:52 PM
Comment #246849
On NBC’s Meet the Press this morning John McCain told host Tim Russert that the Democrats’ plan of setting a date for withdrawal from Iraq “would lead to … an enormously challenging situation as a result.”

“But, Senator,” Russert countered, “the Iraqi parliament, a majority of the Iraqi parliament, has signed a petition asking for a date certain for withdrawal of American troops. If the Iraqi parliament wants it, a majority in the Congress want it… then why do you stand there and say, ‘No, you can’t have it’?”

Published: Sunday May 13, 2007

Jackp

So do you agree with Woody that what Obama meant was a withdrawal based on conditions in Iraq and the wishes of the Iraqi government
by Jack


McCain like Jack, continues to ignore the wishes of the majority of Americans, Iraqi’s and the Iraqi government. But why create a sovereign nation, if they don’t do our bidding?

Posted by: Cube at March 1, 2008 1:13 PM
Comment #246851

Sorry, the second quotation in my thread above was addressed to Jackp from Jack. The format I used makes that unclear.

Posted by: Cube at March 1, 2008 1:16 PM
Comment #246853

Sicilian Eagle

Why does it matter?

Posted by: Cube at March 1, 2008 1:24 PM
Comment #246855

Followers of Islam see nothing wrong with using deceit as a weapon against their enemies.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 1, 2008 1:47 PM
Comment #246856
Followers of Islam see nothing wrong with using deceit as a weapon against their enemies.

I think that John McCain is a closet Muslim. He will never admit it because Muslims lie. :)

Obama has never been a Muslim. Before he was a Christian he was non-religious.

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 1, 2008 1:54 PM
Comment #246857

Jack-
I think you underestimate the sophistication and the up-to date knowledge of the average Democratic Blogger.

The Anbar Awakening pre-dates the surge, and its success could have done the same had the Bush administration not stood in its way until 2006 elections forced the matter. That, and al-Sadr’s cease-fire agreement are all that’s keeping the relative calm in Iraq now. These things may have positive results, but mostly, they are not attributable to us. They are attributable to the Iraqis, and for their own reasons, reasons don’t look like they’re lined up to prevent a broader civil war. What you’re doing, sad to say, may just consolidate the parties in the Civil War rather than keep that civil war from happening. Rather than having dozens of major factions, you might just have a handful.

You went into Iraq with a certain point of view on the war and on the Surge, and have likely looked for grounds to reinforce that vision of how things are going on. In the meantime, you’re not taking into account what a special case Anbar is, the cross purposes that arming Sunni and Shia militias works at, or the way that having a strong military presence might breed a pernicious dependence on our military for order in Iraq, or the strains that this is putting on the military.

You tell people like me that our information is out of date, yet much of what we’re throwing back to you is based on current reports coming from the ground there, coming from the generals.

I think you’re too close to this, and always have been. You’re invested in the Bush policy, invested in selling it, even live with it.

I give you credit for actually putting yourself in harm’s way, rather than sit back like many conservatives, content to push this war as part of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists. If even a handful of those millions of people were willing to walk into a recruiter’s office and sign up, the manpower situation might be different right now. But they, like most Democrats do not trust this Commander in Chief enough to risk their lives by putting them in his hands.

Obama’s publically taken a position where we do withdraw, but take sixteen months, withdrawing a brigade or two at a time. His position is not all that uncommon. Note that the campaign rhetoric talks about starting redeployment immediately, but nobody says it happens all at once. The Right needs to update its facts. Hell, it needs to have sought them out in the first place: The antipathy towards the Iraq war is as much about the sorry state things are in, and the administrations refusal to admit to that sorry state as anything else. People aren’t wanting to cut and run. They’ve just lost the patience for indefinite promises of victory that yield no definite end in sight.

I don’t know for sure what Obama will do, but I do think he knows where his bread is buttered. He knows that if he does not end the war, he will not likely get re-elected.

As for al-Qaeda? I think Iraqis, especially in Anbar, will reject them for their own reasons, especially after we’ve withdrawn our presence. Al-Qaeda’s religious and social attitudes strongly clash with that of the area. If folks really wanted them there, the Anbar Awakening wouldn’t have made its deals with us.

Sometimes, its better to let the body’s own immune system handle things, if it looks like its going to win. That’s what’s done with most viruses, with maybe some vaccines to teach the body what to fight and how.

Other times, as in Afghanistan, it’s better to completely eradicate the infection, rather than apply an intense treatment regimen and quit, leaving a more resistant and virulent strain around to infect others.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 1, 2008 2:11 PM
Comment #246858

Sicilian Eagle,
Jeez - what an absurd thing to write!!! Just because you ask when he became a Christian has nothing to do with with whether he was a Muslim during his childhood. Your message is very clear ‘be afraid of this man, he is a Muslim. He will lead our Christian country astray.’ You are obviously attempting to demean the man’s character by using what I perceive as FEAR TACTICS.

Fear, just like worry rather a waste of time in my opinion. It accomplishes very little. While I respect the nature of fear, I rather like FDR’s comment : “The only thing we have is to fear
is fear itself.”

Please, if you are going to make an implication, consider backing up your implications with facts.

All:

According to what I have read, Obama started attending the Trinity United Church of Christ, where he was actually “SAVED” (to use a term I detest). He did not attend an organized religious church because his mother did not, although he believes she was deeply spiritual. His father has had little influence on his beliefs, which may or may not be good considering the man is an atheistic.

Whether I vote for him or not has little to nothing to do with his father or mother’s religious beliefs. I am far more interested in his beliefs NOW!!! And I don’t merely mean his religious beliefs but his values and thoughts regarding abortion, the death penalty, war, and aggression, taxation, education, etc.I have read about his past stance on the issues I consider important, (many listed above)Watched and him in action.

I have frequently received the
same e-mail implying to the effect:

’ that Obama is in fact a Muslim terrorist in disguise, just waiting until he is elected president to sell us out to the Islamic terrorists.’

I have no idea how many of you have received this same e-mail, and I realize that most all of you realize how absurd this message is, but considering Sicilian Eagle implications, I thought it might to of use to give some real information about Obama’s religious beliefs.

So here is more information regarding Obama’s personal faith.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week1126/newsfeature.html

Religion & Ethics newsletter

NEWSFEATURE:
Obama Religion Questions
February 29, 2008 Episode no. 1126

KIM LAWTON, guest anchor: With major primaries coming up this week (March 4), Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been competing for faith-based voters. But for Obama, this was a week of new religious controversy on several fronts. I took a closer look.

Senator BARACK OBAMA (D-IL, in speech): But what I am suggesting is this: Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square.

KIM LAWTON: Barack Obama has long urged the Democratic Party not to run away from religion. He has spoken openly about his own beliefs, and his campaign has employed a vigorous faith-based outreach strategy. Experts say this has earned him support within the religious community, but religion has also generated controversy for him.

This week, Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan joined the ranks of religious leaders offering praise for Obama. Farrakhan called him “the herald of the Messiah.” This raised concern among Jewish leaders who have criticized Farrakhan for using anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Sen. OBAMA (speaking at Democratic Candidates Debate in Ohio): You know, I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic comments. I think they are unacceptable and reprehensible. I did not solicit this support.

LAWTON: Also this week, a photo circulated around the Internet showing Obama trying on traditional tribal clothing during a 2006 trip to Africa. Another anonymous email campaign falsely suggested Obama is a closet Muslim. The senator has called this “offensive fear-mongering.” Obama describes himself as a “committed Christian” and has often detailed his personal religious journey.

Sen. OBAMA (in speech): My father, who returned to Kenya when I was just two, was born a Muslim, but as an adult was an atheist. My mother, whose parents were non-practicing Baptists and Methodists, was probably one of the most spiritual people I knew, and because she grew up with a healthy skepticism of organized religion, so did I.

LAWTON: Then, as a young community organizer, he visited Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago and became deeply influenced by its pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

Sen. OBAMA (at UCC speech): He introduced me to someone named Jesus Christ, and I learned that my sins could be redeemed.

LAWTON: Obama has been a member of Trinity UCC for more than 20 years.

Dr. ALLEN HERTZKE (Professor of Political Science and Director of Religious Studies University of Oklahoma): I think what’s interesting is Barack Obama is a quintessential mainline Protestant, because he comes out of the United Church of Christ.

LAWTON: But that, too, has been a point of controversy. In June 2007, Obama, an announced presidential candidate, addressed the UCC’s 50th anniversary General Synod meeting. On Monday (February 25), UCC leaders received notice of an IRS investigation into whether that speech was a violation of tax regulations that could jeopardize the denomination’s tax-exempt status. UCC officials insist they did nothing improper and noted that Obama campaign tables were kept outside the arena on a public sidewalk.

Meanwhile, for the past year, the 9,000-member Trinity UCC has come under fire from conservative bloggers and pundits who raise concerns about Pastor Wright’s politics. Wright is retiring as Trinity’s head pastor. He’s been an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq and a strong critic of Israeli policies toward Palestinians in the West Bank.

Reverend JEREMIAH WRIGHT (Senior Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago): The United Nations has passed resolutions, at least three, that say that’s illegally occupied territory. That’s the United Nations saying it. Jeremiah Wright says it, he’s anti-Semitic. Excuse me?

LAWTON: Critics have also hit Trinity’s embrace of black liberation theology, which emphasizes a combination of African heritage and Christianity. Wright alleges that racism is behind at least some of the criticism.

Rev. WRIGHT: The issue is, you got a black man running and you don’t like it. And we’ve got to keep this message before the public. You don’t want a black president, he goes to a black church, they preach black theology — black, black.

Reverend Otis Moss III is taking over Wright’s pastoral duties. He sees the negative attention as an opportunity.

Reverend OTIS MOSS III (Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago): You can continue to say what you want, but the truth is, is that our roots are within the African-American community. Our roots are within the message and teachings of Christ, and they have nothing to do with the bloggers and the emails, but everything to do with the love of God.

LAWTON: Obama has said that he supports his church and loves his pastor, although he doesn’t always agree with everything Wright says and does. Obama held a closed door meeting with Jewish leaders in Ohio last weekend and addressed lingering concerns. He reportedly distanced himself from both Farrakhan and Wright.

Despite the controversies, University of Oklahoma political science professor Allen Hertzke believes Obama will do well among religious voters.

Dr. HERTZKE: Barack Obama seems very comfortable in a faith-based milieu. In fact, he prays with his staff before major events, and he campaigns in churches. In some ways, there’s a greater challenge for Republicans because of the enmity that some in the religious right have for John McCain.

LAWTON: For his part, Obama continues to make religion a key part of his campaign strategy.

Senator BARACK OBAMA (in speech): Let’s come together, Protestant and Catholic, Muslim and Hindu and Jew, believer and, yes, nonbeliever alike. We’re not going to agree on everything, but we can disagree without being disagreeable.


Posted by: Linda H. at March 1, 2008 2:16 PM
Comment #246859

SE, Weary Willie-
Barack Obama was not a Muslim. But tell me, in a nation where no religious test for office is allowed to exist, and the First Amendment protects all religions, if the people elected one, would it really be that bad? The vast majority of the world’s Muslims are no less peaceful for the violent quotes you can pull out of the Quran, than Christians and Jews are for the violent quotes you could pull out of the bible. Functioning societies tend towards a desire for peace, and people examining the behavior of Muslims in our country have found that they tend to become patriotic citizens, with decent values.

The real question here is whether Al-Qaeda has so shaken America’s confidence that we have to get paranoid anytime anybody associated with Islam, much less a Muslim themselves comes onto the national scene.

I think it’s silly to get as overwrought and scared about the possibility of a sleeper in the White House as y’all are getting. It’s something out of a movie plot, and deserves just as much credibility.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 1, 2008 2:20 PM
Comment #246861
I think it’s silly to get as overwrought and scared about the possibility of a sleeper in the White House

Especially since we’ve already got a sleeper there…in bed early every night…

Posted by: Rachel at March 1, 2008 2:41 PM
Comment #246864

Reagan took a nap or two in his day. ;)

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 1, 2008 3:09 PM
Comment #246866

Jack, your analysis regarding Obama reflects not understanding, but, your article’s and party’s propensity to view things in Black and White.

Obama’s position clearly communicates that al-Queda in Iraq is Iraq’s problem as and when we leave. IF Iraqi’s prove to be unable to withstand or control al-Queda in Iraq, then, Obama reserves the option of providing the Iraqi’s with additional assistance in that regard.

I know such rational and clear headed approaches are relatively foreign to your Party’s leadership, but, get used to it, because in January ideological paradigms your party is so attached to will be hard to find in the White House if Obama is elected. And that is why his appeal reaches across party identification and why America has hope again.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 1, 2008 3:21 PM
Comment #246867

Andy >We just happen own the issue on the top fear.

I assume you mean fear of terrorism, and if so, I think you couldn’t be more wrong about that. I think more people fear the coming economic collapse brought about by Bush ineptitude and self-serving than fear terrorism.

If Bushco (of which McCain is a senior executive) had professionally and conservative dealt with the threat of terror, such as making a serious effort to identify who is in this country and should not be; to tighten the international borders to prevent the easy infiltration of unwanted people; to actively and relentlessly pursue the people and organizations responsible for 9/11 (hint: not Iraq); and to take serious security measures to avoid future terrorism (hint: not illegal wiretapping, torture, air marshals, confiscating lighters and fingernail clippers) - then Reps/cons might as you say “own the issue on the top fear”.

But alas they didn’t and they don’t “own” the top fear. Instead they squandered trillions on things completely unrelated to terror to the intentional benefit of their corporate constituents such as Halliburton and Blackwater.

The underlying message that most Americans have received and responded to is that terrorism is something to worry about, but not the top worry AND more importantly, the Reps/cons are incompetent when it comes to dealing with it, managing only to bilk the taxpayer.

Posted by: 4@+,/21+3(:) at March 1, 2008 3:22 PM
Comment #246868

All I did was ask a simple question. That’s it.

Geez, you might of thought that I asked what his middle name was,or something.

Now that I know he was “non-religious” prior to his becoming a Christian, I have another question:

Was he non-religious during his drug taking days?

Was he non-religious and taking drugs at the same time?

Up until only 20 years ago? While McCain was rotting in the Hanoi Hilton praying to God to give him strength to endure ,this guy was non-religious and taking drugs?

And this formerly non-religious guy who was taking drugs 20 years ago now wants to be president against a guy who sacrificed himself for his country while this was happening?

Hmmmm…

Mama Mia.

Posted by: sicilian Eagle at March 1, 2008 3:25 PM
Comment #246869

Obama’s position on Iraq going forward is very cloudy. Yes, yes, we know you would have voted against it if you could have voted. Umm, right, sure. But saying you would have voted against it isn’t the same as having the ability to vote then actually putting your career on the line for a vote. Talk is cheap.

Explanations that others are creating here FOR Obama are not explanations given BY Obama as to what he WILL DO.

Obama has promised to leave Iraq. Obama has promised to fight Al Qaeda in Irag and to invade Iraq to take Al Qaeda down. Obama now says he knows Al Qaeda is in Iraq but he still plans to flee Iraq? All is NOT clear. Such is “hope”.


At some point, Obama is going to have to tell us what he means. At some point we are going to have to hear from the lips of Obama if he plans to flee Iraq while Al Qaeda is still waging a war in Iraq. We will all know it the day he addresses it. Most likely it is McCain that will force him to address it. Unless McCain plans to spend the rest of the 08 election cycle apologizing to Obama.

Posted by: Stephen at March 1, 2008 3:41 PM
Comment #246870

Stephen

Well, ya…you are correct…America is definately not ready for a Muslim until that “religion” gets its act together and emerges from the internal ideaologicial war that it has had within itself….which will take a long long time, I think.

ALL Muslim sects fundamentally believe that “peace” is impossible with the infidel. At best only a “truce” with the infidel can occur. Extremist now wag the dog in both the Shia and Sunni sects. If you are a moderate Muslim anywhere in any Muslim country….you are yourself an infidel.

Personally, this religion as it presently exists is a far bigger threat that Nazism ever was. Ask any Indian Hindu what Muslims have done to them throughout history. Untold scores of thousands…maybe millionss have been slaughtered there in the name of Allah.

Religion of peace? Right.

Believe me, the only reason there are any American “peaceful” Muslims in the first place is because the American rule of law won’t tolerate their intolerant behavior,and will throw theeir arses in jail when they talk jihad.

By the way, I asked a legitimate question on Obama….

Posted by: Sicilian Eagle at March 1, 2008 3:48 PM
Comment #246872
…if Obama does it, the left wing with either feel so disillusions that they will keep their mouths shut or more likely convince themselves that it is a good and necessary thing to do. In either case, American resolve to stay in Iraq is strengthened by an Obama victory.

I think this is flat wrong. The left wing will erupt in sputtering rage if Obama fails to substantially and immediately withdraw from Iraq.

But if Obama were actually president, he would not only the be the president of left wing Democrats, but the president of all Americans… not to mention Commander in Chief of the military, who will not take kindly to being asked to embrace defeat in a war if they feel like they are winning it.

Obama has painted himself into corner on this, and the only positive outcome for him would be if the Iraq effort comes to such a successful conclusion by the time he assumed office that he could remove troops that would have been removed anyway and then take credit for it.

Democrats (and I know there’s no possible way to shake this belief on their part) seem to believe that attacking the Iraq war is an unqualified winner for them, but that is far more true in the Democratic primary than it will be in the general election, especially when running against somebody like McCain who has been vocally against the war’s conduct himself while vocally being for a policy which—at least for now—seems to a great many Americans to be working. The attitudes toward Iraq are simply not what they were even a year ago, but Obama and the left wing has not changed their tune one bit to match the changing situation.

The war is still largely unpopular and most likely still will be in November, but whatever else it it will be, it will still be a FACT that has to be dealt with. It remains to be seen if even many of those who don’t like the conduct of the war will actually want to see Obama take over responsibility for it instead of a man like McCain, who is not only an expert on military matters but somebody who has shown himself to have a lot more flexibility on Iraq than either Bush or Obama.

Obama can excite a crowd of Moveon.org and Daily Kos types with his promises to get out immediately, but I suspect that to be a false picture of the desires of the voting public at large. He’s essentially promised to begin withdrawals immediately after taking office, no matter what the facts on the ground are.

An interesting scenario (although one that hopefully won’t take place) would arise if Obama actually becomes President and issues orders to the military to halt efforts which they, along with many Americans, believe are succeeding. Either he will do this, and be accused of surrendering on the verge of victory by huge swaths of the public and stabbing the military in the back or he will break his promise to the anti-war left, who will then lose their collective minds with anger.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 1, 2008 4:11 PM
Comment #246876

I never thought I would get into such a stupid discussion about such a stupid war.
It was never a good idea! We have gained absolutely nothing from this war.
Most of us will never be truly hurt by the stupendous cost of this war. It’ll be our children and theirs who will have to pay.
However, there are people being hurt right now, because the country hasn’t the wherewithal to take care of those people, mainly children.
It appears that many people do not consider losing a few lives of our military people to be of any consequence. Nor the physical and emotional maiming of thousands. Of course, we don’t even discuss the many thousands of Iraqi deaths. After all, most of them are Muslims, so they don’t really count.
They don’t count unless we’re talking about leaving their country without every Iraqi swearing their allegiance to the country that is controlling them. Then, suddenly we would be “fleeing”, “running away” to leave them vulnerable .
I can’t read Obama’s mind any more than anyone else, but so far, he talks a pretty good game and that’s a whole lot more than I an say for the guy in the White House who started the whole thing, or McCain who simply wants to carry on the same policies that have already failed miserably.
By the way, I don’t believe it was “surge” that quieted things down as much as they are. Did you notice we PAID Iraqis to stand up for themselves?
Jackp

Posted by: Jackp at March 1, 2008 4:40 PM
Comment #246879

Iraq has contributed to the economic collapse of the United States. But don’t take my word for it. According to economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz:

“The spending on Iraq was a hidden cause of the current credit crunch because the US central bank responded to the massive financial drain of the war by flooding the American economy with cheap credit.”

That summarizes the situation quite concisely. The author continues:

“That led to a housing bubble and a consumption boom, and the fallout was plunging the US economy into recession and saddling the next US president with the biggest budget deficit in history…”
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23286149-2703,00.html

“Staying the course” would cost additional hundreds of billions of dollars, money which could be put to much, much better use.

Like I said, the next administration will not have much choice. The War in Iraq will end soon, and all the lies & wishful thinking about “winning” and “success” that we’ve heard for the all these years can’t change the impending outcome.

Posted by: phx8 at March 1, 2008 5:22 PM
Comment #246880

40 under 40 award Craigs Chicago Business

Barack Obama, Director, Illinois Project Vote, 1993
_http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/article.pl?portal_id=35&mpid=35&page_id=1449

_http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/January-1993/Vote-of-Confidence/
A huge black turnout in November 1992 altered Chicago’s electoral landscape—and raised a new political star: a 31-year-old lawyer named Barack Obama.

Obama shrugs off the possibility of running for office. “Who knows?” he says. “But probably not immediately.” He smiles. “Was that a sufficiently politic ‘maybe’? My sincere answer is, I’ll run if I feel I can accomplish more that way than agitating from the outside. I don’t know if that’s true right now. Let’s wait and see what happens in 1993. If the politicians in place now at city and state levels respond to African-American voters’ needs, we’ll gladly work with and support them. If they don’t, we’ll work to replace them. That’s the message I want Project Vote! to have sent.”
http://www.wltx.com/print/default.asp?storyid=46935 _http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/obama/index.html _http://www.azcentral.com/news/election/president/articles/0914elections08-obama.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Dunham _http://www.punahou.edu/ _http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punahou_School _http://www.punahou.edu/page.cfm?p=133 http://celebrity.rightpundits.com/?p=3191 Posted by: Weary Willie at March 1, 2008 5:53 PM
Comment #246881

Sicilian Eagle:

All I did was ask a simple question. That’s it.

Geez, you might of thought that I asked what his middle name was,or something.

Now that I know he was “non-religious” prior to his becoming a Christian, I have another question:

Was he non-religious during his drug taking days?

Was he non-religious and taking drugs at the same time?

Up until only 20 years ago? While McCain was rotting in the Hanoi Hilton praying to God to give him strength to endure ,this guy was non-religious and taking drugs?

You’re asking about Dubya, right? The answer is Yes to all of the above.

Posted by: 4@+,/21+3(:) at March 1, 2008 6:04 PM
Comment #246883
The left wing will erupt in sputtering rage if Obama fails to substantially and immediately withdraw from Iraq.

Anyone who expects Obama to immediately remove most of the forces from Iraq hasn’t been paying attention. What he has said all along is that we need to leave Iraq gradually and carefully. The only serious candidate who was really pushing immediate, complete withdrawal was Bill Richardson.

And you can hardly credit left-wing extremists with Obama’s success, considering that

a) he wins in Red states,

b) he does better against McCain than Clinton in polls.

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 1, 2008 6:33 PM
Comment #246889

Barack Obama was born in 1961. Do the math. Much as some would entertain visions of Obama doing drugs and lazing around while they tortured American Hero John McCain, that’s fairly unlikely. Barack spent most of those years in Elementary school. Y’all would be better off asking George Bush that question, since he spent those same years stateside with little chance of ever seeing real combat. When McCain was being released from prison broken in body, if not spirit, Bush was weaseling his way out of TANG drills.

But of course, having an imperfect past Is OK If You’re A Republican, or as we on the liberal blogs put it, IOKIYAR. So is having substance abuse in your past and getting over it. So is being non-religious.

Stephen-
Obama’s position is not cloudy. Part the first: immediately will bring up plans for withdrawal, a brigade a month over the subsequent 16 months. He will bring a diplomatic surge to bear to help stabilize and prepare Iraq for the consequences of that departure.

If the Iraqi’s have a problem with that and just say “get out”, he says he will honor their sovereignty and leave immediately, which is, of course, what you’re supposed to do when a sovereign country asks you to leave.

If some force comes together in Iraq after that which threatens American lives, especially if that’s al-Qaeda, Obama will go after it.

This only confuses Republicans and independents who have been repeating rhetoric specifically designed to mislead Americans on what the Democrats real plans are. When everytime somebody talks about a graduated withdrawal with options left open for return if a threat arises, all you hear is “cut and run” and “precipitous withdrawal”, and people took that seriously, well, of course they’d be confused.

Obama has explained his position, on multiple occasions. Here’s a video at a Google Q+A, where he gives a relatively detailed set of proposals, among other things.

SE-
I think it should be the character of the person that decides whether we give them that responsibility. I think if they’re ready for a black man to be president, a Muslim President is not out of the question, no more than a Confucian, Jewish, Buddhist or any other president is out of the question, because nothing legal stands in the way of any qualified candidate who gets the votes.

I’m not one of those people who lives in fear of the day when we stop promising that everybody can be equal and actually get around to letting people act as if they are.

Americans are not going to elect some rabid mullah who wants to take a wrecking crew to every building in New York. They’ll elect the impressive politicians who demonstrate their strengths as leaders.

The Muslims are far from perfect in the history books. But ask those same Hindus what Christians did to them. Ask any number of other cultures. Then ask the Chinese what Buddhist/Shinto Japanese did to them. Then ask the Muslims what the Hindus in the Kashmir area have done to them.

Carried to its fullest extent, this rhetoric is divisive and pointless. Nobody can forgive anybody else, as long as even one person from one religion commits a crime against another.

The real reason their are peaceful Muslims in America is that like most people, they have no desire to make trouble or get into trouble. They just want to live normal lives. Muslims are no more naturally intolerant than Christians are.

If you want to argue the natural intolerance of one religion, by the way, be prepared to argue the natural intolerance of your own. If we agree that most religious people can be and are tolerant people, then it follows that most Muslims will be that way, even without the rule of law.

LO-
The country is more than 60% against the war. You can talk about many, but you can’t say most. The Republicans are choosing to convince themselves that the corner they’ve painted themselves into, continuing, even escalating an unpopular war, is in fact the real winner. Denial is no longer just a river in Egypt, it’s the Republican position on the war.

The Charm of Barack Obama is that he does appeal to those outside of hardcore liberals, without failing to appeal to them as well. He’s the first candidate in a long time who seems genuinely appealing to people, rather than just the political compromise. This is no Date Dean, Marry Kerry.

Will he be accused by the hard right of abandoning Iraq? I bet he will be. Will some in the military dislike his decision? A number will. But I think the notion that there will be this massive public and military backlash on the subject is just more denial on the part of the GOP, more concern trollery.

Unfortunately, emotional blackmail has replaced sensible policy as the Republican’s position on Iraq.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 1, 2008 8:18 PM
Comment #246890

An “immediate” withdrawal could be accomplished in three months, at best. I haven’t read any suggestions an orderly withdrawal could be accomplished any faster. Most discussions of “immediate” withdrawal use a six-month to one-year timeframe, which seems pretty reasonable.

I don’t think the next administration will have a lot of choices, though. It took a long time to get into this economic position, and it will take a long time to climb out of the hole. Throwing away additional hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq will simply not be an option.

Posted by: phx8 at March 1, 2008 8:20 PM
Comment #246891

phx8

No one doubts there are bad people out there. I think everyone gets that. But it has been center stage for years, and constantly worrying and stoking fears about terrorism is, in the long run, not realistic or practical, because the fears and focus of policy are disproportionate to the actual threat to the US. It’s just not a practical way of dealing with the world.

An excellent level headed post supported by good logic. It is very refreshing to read a post not centered on hatred and foolish bias.

Posted by: RickIL at March 1, 2008 8:27 PM
Comment #246896
LO- The country is more than 60% against the war. You can talk about many, but you can’t say most.

Stephen, according to that latest Pew poll on the subject, there is now a statistical tie, 48% to 48% on the question of whether the war in Iraq is going well/very well or not too well/not at all well. The favorable perception is up 18% from this time last year.

At the same time, however, the perception that the war was worth it has actually gone down 2 points, with 62% saying it wasn’t worth it.

What public opinion appears to be telling is that you’re absolutely right about the unpopularity of the war—it’s even slightly more unpopular than you’ve suggested. But the same poll also says that 53% of the public, a majority, now believes that the US effort in Iraq WILL succeed.

How this will play out in the presidential campaign could be far more nuanced that you or Obama have accounted for.

Obama can criticize the fact that the war was began all he wants, and many will agree with him. Fine. But if elected, there is no Presidential Time Machine in the White House basement for him to hop into in order to change the fact that the war happened in the first place. The war in Iraq is a FACT, and one way or another, future decisions to be made about it are more important for the next president than his opinions about what happened five years ago.

I may not like the fact that the house across the street is on fire. I may have a lot to say about all the decisions made by the city, the fire inspector, and its previous owners that led to the fire. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I think that I want the fire engines to return to their station prematurely and let the place burn to the ground. A similar dynamic seems to be in play regarding the public’s views on Iraq.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 1, 2008 11:06 PM
Comment #246897

Loyal Opposition,
So you’re saying the situation will be worse if we withdraw? I disagree. According too the best estimates available- and they are not that great, but they are the best we have to work with- over 1 million Iraqis have already died. More have been wounded. We do know with some certainty that there are 2 million refugees who have fled the country, and another 2 million internal refugees. In the US, those internal refugees would be referred to as homeless people. So again, I disagree. I don’t think it will get worse. We have armed the Sunnis and the Shias in order to obtain a stand off for the time being. It’s probably a bad idea in the long term. Disarming people would be a much better idea than arming them. But less profitable. Mustn’t forget the profits!

When it comes to the violence in Iraq, the statistics are uncertain. But count on this. When the US government tells you violence is down 60%, they are lying. Let me repeat that. When the US government tells you violence is down 60%, they are lying. They do not know how much there was before, and they do not know how much there is now. Is there less violence? Probably. But no one knows for sure, and definitely not with any statistical certainty to back up assertions.

But when it comes to Iraq, we seem to live in an Orwellian nightmare, with events being stuffed down the memory hole on a regular basis.

We have been continuously winning the war since 2003. Even now, we are winning. Amazing, isnt’ it? There are more troops than ever in Iraq, and more money being spent than ever, and fewer allies helping, and Turkey has invaded northern Iraq, yet- get this- We are winning.

Iraq has contributed to the economic disaster which is slowly yet ineluctably moving through the US. It won’t make much difference for the Iraqis, because the worst has already happened; but the longer the US stays in Iraq, the worse our economic downturn will be.

Posted by: phx8 at March 1, 2008 11:24 PM
Comment #246898

RickIL,
Thanks for the props! Unfortunately, I’ve been pessimistic with predictions and opinions on Iraq, and events have proven me right. Well, maybe not- it turned out even worse than I predicted, which is saying a lot. What a terrible thing the war is for all of us. It may not seem so bad, but the bill is coming due, the bill is huge, and we’re going to be hard put to pay it.

Posted by: phx8 at March 1, 2008 11:33 PM
Comment #246899
So you’re saying the situation will be worse if we withdraw? I disagree. According too the best estimates available- and they are not that great, but they are the best we have to work with- over 1 million Iraqis have already died.

I’m not sure where you’re getting numbers like that, or why you consider them the “best estimates.” I’m aware of only one highly controversial study with a number that high (most say under 100,000) but who is it that has been targeting and killing civilians in those large numbers? Are you saying that the US military is doing it? Or is it the people the US military is fighting?

I’m quite certain that you won’t decrease civilian casualties by abandoning the field to the people who are deliberately targeting and killing civilians. It’s like saying that 6 million Jews who were alive before WWII would have been spared if we’d just kept our noses out of the internal affairs of Europe, and that the killing would have stopped if we’d just stayed home warm in our beds.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 1, 2008 11:50 PM
Comment #246902

Loyal Opposition,
The best numbers on Iraqi casualties come from two sources: the Lancet Survey of 2006, and the Opinion Research Bureau Poll a few months ago. The Lancet survey was probably the best, since it was based upon actual death certificates. The ORB poll is the most recent, and confirms to the Lancet results to a strong degree.

Numbers suggesting 150,000 Iraqi deaths to date, or less, are highly doubtful. They are based upon the Iraq Body Count organization, which only counts deaths which are reported in the media, in English. Based upon other recent conflicts, that kind of methodology usually undercounts violence, reporting only 5% to 20% of it- and the more violent the conflict, the worse the undercount.

In 2006, the Iraqi Health Minister publicly announced that 150,000 Iraqis had died at the hands of “insurgents.” He was reprimanded, and the Ministry did not comment again on deaths until recently. Neither the US nor the Iraqi Health Ministry have a history of providing accurate data. That is a simple fact. Usually, the US and Iraqi governments choose to either provide no information at all, or else make ludicrous assertions without backing evidence.

I doubt anyone will ever know exactly how many Iraqis have died, and who killed them. Last year the US increased its bombing raids by a factor of five. We have been dropping an enormous amount of ordinance. It minimizes US combat casualties on the ground, but no one knows how many people are obliterated in bombings.

Grim stuff for a Saturday night, but there it is.


Posted by: phx8 at March 2, 2008 12:43 AM
Comment #246904
We have been continuously winning the war since 2003. Even now, we are winning. Amazing, isnt’ it? There are more troops than ever in Iraq, and more money being spent than ever, and fewer allies helping, and Turkey has invaded northern Iraq, yet- get this- We are winning.

What have we won? Huh?? I want my share of the winnings!

Posted by: Rachel at March 2, 2008 1:01 AM
Comment #246905

Stephen

Most important things have multiple and dependent causes. The awakening predate the surge, but the Iraqis were being defeated by AQI and their insurgent allies. Our Marines turned that around. The Awakening alone would have been annihilated by the insurgents. The Marines alone could not have secured the province. Together, along with luck and a few other things, they can have success.

Our strategy has adapted to conditions. This is not 2006. Many of the terrorists are taking dirt naps in the desert; others are captured. Good people are not joining the insurgents and many of those already in are giving up and reconciling. Security is being established and rebuilding is well underway. This is too good, too important to lose for trivial American political reason.

Re harm’s way – please believe me when I tell you that I am a chickens*t when it comes to physical danger. I get squeamish donating blood. I feel safe enough to do my job wherever it needs to be done and that tells you a lot about the improved security situation when a weenie like me walks down the streets of Hadithah.

Iraqis are rejecting Al Qaeda. The tribes have a blood feud against AQI and they take this sort of thing very seriously. The question is capacity. AQI and their insurgent allies are ruthless and well equipped. It does not take very many of them to disrupt peaceful society and kill innocent people. Just last week they beheaded a father and his nine-year-old son as a warning to other not to open shops and do business. Our success has made this kind of thing much less common. Our forces are still needed to stop this from becoming AGAIN the common insurgent practice. The Iraqis are training up to do the job. They could do it now if they were to use the oppressive tactics of the past, but we hope to get beyond that, so that when we leave, and we will leave, we won’t have to be back except are friends, advisors and business associates. Sort of like Germany, but a lot hotter.

David

Please see above to Stephen. Al Qaeda is currently in Iraq. They are being beaten down, but they are not gone. So Obama’s condition for leaving Iraq is not met, since he says he will come back IF AQI is there. If he left, he would just have to return the next week.

Jackp

Please note MAJOR shift in strategy in 2006. Situation very different now. NOT the same policy. You can say whatever you want about the pre-2006 strategy, but it no longer is the one we are using.

Phx8

We are not “Staying the Course”. We are adapting to changing circumstances. The only people staying the course are war opponents who have not adapted to the changed situation.

I wish just leaving Iraq was a valid choice. But besides it being immoral to let so many of our friends be murdered, it would not end with our withdrawal. Our enemies would follow us and move on to other places where we were – maybe New York, Washington or even San Francisco. I know the left considers the truth scare mongering, but maybe they should understand that there are real world risks to other-world sweet rhetoric.

Re the Lancet study – I think it is over counting. HOWEVER – if you want even more Iraqis to die in nasty ways, a quick withdrawal will do that. If you want more Iraqis to live and be prosperous, we need to finish the job we started and have sucessfully advanced. Even my new friend Angelina sees this. She is just an actress and I doubt she voted for Bush.

Woody

Both Rasmussen and Gallop (as I recall) have McCain beating Obama. It is a close race, but he is riding a wave that is cresting only on the left side of the ocean. “Red states” have lots of blue, just as “blue states” have lots of red. The fact that Obama wins in red states against another Dem doesn’t say much.

Posted by: Jack at March 2, 2008 7:20 AM
Comment #246906

Someone is concerned about Obama because of his middle name, and the religion of his mostly absent father? And I hear you would be wise to be very afraid of Sicilians. Makes just as much sense.

Posted by: ray at March 2, 2008 10:14 AM
Comment #246907
The fact that Obama wins in red states against another Dem doesn’t say much.

I didn’t mean to imply that he would win those states in the general election (although he could very well win some).

My point was that it’s hard to say his base is the extreme left-wing when Clinton is winning in places like New York and California and he is winning in Red states. Likewise, it is hard to believe that the people who desert McCain if Obama is the nominee are the antiwar left. Presumably, they would never vote for McCain under any circumstances.

Anecdotally, there are a lot of people out there who are already saying that they can’t decide between Obama and McCain. Seems kinda crazy to me given their stark ideological differences, but these people obviously look at something besides ideology.

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 2, 2008 10:18 AM
Comment #246912

LO-
Acknowledging that the war is going better is not the same as being favorable about it, thinking it was a good idea at the start, or believing that it should be continued for much longer. Most people believe we are either not making a difference, or we’re hurting things. Even now, even with recent improvements, the public still trusts the Democrats to do the right thing in Iraq more than Bush.

Nearly seventy-five percent of Americans want us out of Iraq within the next two years, of which fifty percentage points worth want us out within the year.

The American people, despite their acknowledgment of improvement, just don’t have any confidence in the outcome of the military side of this conflict They don’t think, for the most part, that we can fight our way out of the problem in Iraq

These are recent results, so your argument fails on the merits.

In the recent debate, Obama answered that question, basically saying that the President drove the bus into the ditch, and that there are only so many ways to get it out now.

It’s the magnitude of the screw-up that makes it difficult for politicians to get this country out of the war, not any strong public love for it. The way out of Iraq leads through a minefield of potential problems, so everybody’s tiptoeing around trying to get out. Some Republicans might say the problem is about going against a war that’s actually got firm support, but the real trouble is not unlike the kind of trouble you see in the movies, when a vehicle’s hanging over a cliff; people aren’t being careful because the vehicle’s in the right place, people are being careful because the errors that put the car or truck in that position have made the situation very sensitive to small mistakes.

Jack-
AQI is but a small part of the insurgency, and its one that has no real solid base in Iraq. It will not survive long, much less gain the resources to follow us home.

If you’re really concerned about the folks that can follow us home, be concerned about the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and the other Jihadist movements around the world.

As for quick Withdrawals, Barack Obama has been proposing a pace for withdrawal no quicker than that we’re currently using to back out of the surge, one that will run the course of 16 months. It serves the Republican Noise Machine well not to make such distinctions, but if you want to be accurate, that’s why he said.

Your party drove this bus into the ditch, and my problem with you fellows now, is that you want to declare victory for calling the tow-truck driver. As originally premised, there is no victory for us in Iraq. When it comes to Iraq, the Republican party has a new revelation every few months that supercedes the old received wisdom, and you all just repeat these same old talking points on the matter. However, it doesn’t change the fact that y’all never deliver on the progress you promise. That, more than anything, is why people want to end the war before there is victory to be had; they have little faith that it is within the Bush Administration’s abilities, or those of the war’s other supporters, to fulfill the promise.

It doesn’t help that your “adapting to changing circumstances” involves you using the same rhetoric and making the same claims as you did before. And as the poll results above show, the Administration has failed to convince most Americans that we’re actually making things better for those people. At the end of the day, folks think we’re getting in the way of Iraq’s recovery, not helping it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 2, 2008 12:22 PM
Comment #246914

Ray

If a Sicilian were in the White House in ‘01, Bin Landen and his entire family would be long gone by now…as would his entire extended family.

Trouble is, we have fought this war according to the Rules of Engagement, and the other side(s) don’t have a copy of that book.

What ever happened to Jack Murtha by the way? Seems since his Haditha debacle, he has been kept under lock and key. Course, he shoulda been keep under lock and key since Abscam.

Posted by: sicilian eagle at March 2, 2008 1:23 PM
Comment #246919

SE,
We’ll have a hard time in the future finding people who will agree to fight a war with us on our terms. No one will fight the US in a traditional, conventional war. However, if invaded and permanently occupied, it’s safe to say neither the Iraqis nor anyone else will behave like a properly conquered people.

Insurgency and asymmetrical warfare are here to stay. They never really went away. It was supposedly one of the lessons we took away from the Vietnam War, and the development of the Powell Doctrine.

Ah, Murtha and Abscam… McCain and the Keating Five… Just out of curiousity, SE, do you despise McCain?

Jack,
Suggesting something terrible will happen in Iraq if we withdraw, since it has already been terrible, so bad it really couldn’t get any worse- it is pretty bad right now- and looks like it will continue to be pretty bad for some indefinite period.

Furthermore, this assumes Iraqis want the US to permanently occupy their country.

Will 100 years be enough? McCain is up for it. Are you?

My larger point is that the domestic economy will force our hands, regardless of whether the Democrats or Republicans win. It is not the first time an empire went bust because of war.

Posted by: phx8 at March 2, 2008 3:13 PM
Comment #246920

Woody

The whole red/blue is just a convenient construct. Most states have gone both ways within recent election history. The blues in red are not necessarily any more moderate and may be worse. The same goes for the other way. One of the most liberal guys I know, for example, is from Texas.

Re McCain and Obama – the differences have still not been made clear. That will come and the choice will be obvious.

Stephen

I am concerned about the Taliban and others. (BTW – you should call them takfiri, which is the bigoted kind of guy who kills Muslims and non-Muslims alike. We give them too much credit by calling them Jihadis.) That is a compliment. They are all part of the same equation. I am not saying it is a vast conspiracy, but rather they feed off the same types of disorder and nasty ideology.

We have seen something remarkable in Iraq. As the terrorists are defeated, their appeal declines. It makes sense. Everybody likes to be on a winning side and the success of terrorists tends to help recruitment. We discredited the Nazis by defeating them, not by talking them down. The Communist collapse helped degrade that ideology, but it survives because it was not defeated. It just failed.

Re polling and public opinion – I regret that we still have not been able to convince most people to see the truth. In a democracy, this is a serious problem and that ignorance may end up hurting us. But the fact that a majority of people who have never been near Iraq and get their news second hand believes something is a threat only because they might make a wrong choice.

I am unimpressed by the polling data besides for that point above any more than I would be if the majority of people thought the world was flat. Some things are matters of opinion; others are true.

You also understand that public opinion is fickle. It has been changing rapidly over the past months. If a plurality comes to believe that we should finish the job in Iraq, how fast would you change you position?

Re the military, we keep on talking past each other. A purely military victory is not possible. That is why we have emphasized the political and developmental aspects. But w/o the security provided by the military, nothing else can develop. We need both (plus diplomatic efforts). I don’t understand why people cannot seem simultaneously to hold those two ideas in their head.

Your criticism is of the past policy. Even then, I think it was not a valid one (but that is another story). Many advocated diplomatic solutions and broad ranging political actions. That is what we are doing.

Posted by: Jack at March 2, 2008 3:35 PM
Comment #246921

Jack,
The Takfiri are Sunni religious fundamentalists, and they are only one faction in the civil war. Various groups make up the nationalist Sunni faction, most notably the Baathists and the Revolutionary Brigade of 1920. The Islamic Army now works with us, in exchange for being allowed to run most of Sunni Baghdad. I’m not sure where that faction falls on the political spectrum.

These groups are completely separate from the major Shia factions: The Mahdi Army and Al Sadr, the Virtue Party in Basra, Dawa and Talabani, SCII and Al Hakim, and whoever the secularist Shia Allawi might represent.

Then there are the two major Kurd factions, PKK, Turkomen, and numerous small ethnic minorities.

Civil War is complicated.

Defeating “terrorists” doesn’t change the fact that “insurgents” continue resisting US occupation. The Takfiris usually target Shias and Sunnis they view as collaborators. The US usually fights various Sunni factions, sometimes Shias too. It’s not just a matter of good guys and bad guys.

Less than a decade ago, we considered the nationalist Sunni Baathists so unspeakably evil, we had to invade Iraq to get rid of them.

Oh yeah. That. How embarrassing.

Now they are actually good guys, and arming them is a good idea?

Uh huh.

Posted by: phx8 at March 2, 2008 4:17 PM
Comment #246927

phx8

I have written about Murtha a lot this year. The Haditha thing was far worse than any other (alleged) wrongdoing this guy did. He’s a skunk in my view.

McCain? He’s a Washington insider and was not in my top 3 to be honest…again I wrote about that too.

However, the fourth draft pick on that side is better than the alternative for me.

Obama was sworn in what…3 years ago? 2005? He is an empty book. He hasn’t stood the test of time…or has been tested,for that matter, and I for one will opt for the candidate that at least I can hold my nose and vote for….

The issue of Iraq …you and I differ. I see it as something that will affect my grandkids far more than the defiet to be honest with you.

By the war, we are pulling some money outta there. This week, under a contract with Iraq involving the USA and Australia, two American companies delivered 350,000 tons of wheat at $500 a ton…and will do so for the rest of the year. Many more American companies will be selling things there too very shortly….for oil cash…

Thus, over time the trillions that you talk about will return as a peace dividend…which isn’t too far down the line.

Plus, the trillions of dollars being spent…a large chuck of that comes back to the government via taxes anyway, so that number has always been grossly inflated in my view.

Posted by: sicilian eagle at March 2, 2008 7:04 PM
Comment #246928

SE-
Do your self a favor and look up negligent homicide. You’ll understand why it’s true on the merits to say that the Armed forces themselves believe a massacre happened at Haditha.

In many television shows and movies intended for younger audiences, the bad guys tend to be either disposable villains who can be obliterated without compunction or defeated without bloodshed. Nobody’s going to shed a tear for the Battle Droids or Clones of Star Wars, or the animated clay figures of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. In GI Joe, for the most part, villains were able to run away from tanks and other vehicles targeted by missiles before they were hit by the ordinance. In fire-fights, the sides would shoot at each other, and invariably, one side (not the good guys of course) would run away. Nary a body would be found anywhere.

But it’s not just kids shows.

In Lord of the Rings, the Orcs, Goblins and Uruk-Hai are pretty much disposable, ready to be mowed down at a moments notice. In True Lies, Islamic Extremists of Crimson Jihad hold a city hostage with a nuclear weapon, and most people in the audience have little problem with Arnold mowing them down. When his wife asks whether he’s killed anybody, he says yes, but they were all bad. The movie Hot Shots: Part Deux parodied this tendency towards mass slaughter with actual onscreen body counts and bad guys doing synchronized dives off of the boats as they were gunned down.

That, of course, is the movies. That, of course, is television shows. One big part of this illusion is the notion that military victory is all about annihilating the other side, in which case, taking out a few innocent civilians as collateral casualties is simply a sad cost of war.

In truth, though, bullet and bombs do not discriminate between the guilty and the innocent. Though sometimes that’s just the sad truth of things in war, it can be a sad truth that makes a war harder to win.

Some claim that having rules of engagement hobbles us in dealing with terrorists, but that argument suffers from that same flaw, that if we let ourselves become as morally flexible as the terrorists, then and only then can we face them on equal terms.

It’s a mistake that great powers make again and again. First, while it might be an approach that allows you to do to the bad guys whatever you want, you still have two problems from the outset: determining who are bad guys and who are not, and the necessary double standard that stands as the axis of any conflict of this kind.

The double standard is this: a terrorist is expected to sow chaos, to mercilessly slaughter the innocent. They’re expected to morally compromise themselves, even purge themselves of a moral sense altogether.

Or put another way, if Americans dropped a bomb in the middle of a crowded market of civilians, even on accident, it would cause greater harm to our reputation than if the Terrorists set off the same bomb. Why? Because states do not have to act out of desperation. They have the resources to take another route. America has no stomach for becoming violent tyrants of foreign territories; we would not consent to punitive strikes on villages that support terrorists.

Either we make peace with the fact that we are a civilized power that needs to set up and follow certain rules, or we end up continually giving the advantage to the terrorists.

When we inflict pain and suffering, it motivates resistance to us. Inflict it enough, and people might ally themselves with the enemy out of sheer spite. The key to a successful military campaign of this type is maximum control of the battlefield for minimal violence. That’s why having so many soldiers was such a sticking point, early on.

If you don’t put in enough soldiers, you are stuck running around playing whack-a-mole, instead of sitting on places and quieting them down to where a permanent presence can be left behind, and the presence become what keeps order. The more firefights you have in these kinds of wars, the more likely it is that innocent people get caught in the crossfire, or that the chaos itself takes them.

My point would be this: unrestrained force is not the object of the best wars, nor is total attrition. The object of the best wars and the best war fighting is control of the situation. Even now, with the surge, we don’t have it. throwing out the book on Rules of Engagement doesn’t help, because civilian casualties and incidents like that in Haditha motivate people to mess things up. In a war like this, the key is to win strategically, rather than tactically.

Jack-
The problem comes down to this: a year into the surge, we have yet to see it actually bear fruit. The Iraqis have not gotten their act together, and probably won’t, since we’re there to be played off of by each party to the conflict.

I can’t honestly say that things won’t get worse when we leave. But I also don’t see how the current strategy changes the odds on that terrible outcome for the better. Iraq remains divided, a failed state. It remains in economic ruins, the leaders of the various factions trying to look out for their own, and using our army as a referee. We’re caught in the middle of a multi-polar conflict, which depending on the month may have us for or against one side or the other, unable to definitively set our favor on side or another.

Things are better in Anbar, but only for as long as the leaders there see benefit to it, and only as long as the Shia don’t start getting antsy about your success in building up Militias there and arming them. We may be one bad incident away from a return to the violence there, and the people in Anbar show few signs of submitting to the authority of the central government.

I know you’ve pooh-poohed this in the past, but without a central government, you have no real third party arbitrator to resolve differences in a manner recognized as legtimate by all. Instead, you have the different sides and what they can impose by force. We can never leave that alone with the hope that it will somehow gel. If there is no plan for creating this central government, then what do we gain from continued presence? We’ll only forestall the consequences of that failure, not prevent it.

And forestalling things has consequences all its own. It wears on a military already brought to its knees by a high optempo with insufficient troops and equipment, it wears on our reputation and resources. People want something for that cost, and not merely declining violence. They want a definite way out, an indication that there will be a final payoff to the investment. Even with the reduction in violence, the Bush Administration can’t produce much of any evidence that this final payoff is anywhere near.

That is why people want this war over. It might be ugly, but the results of keeping this going haven’t exactly been pretty to begin with.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 2, 2008 7:59 PM
Comment #246931

phx8

YOu said it. It HAS been much worse. We can go back to 2006 to see how bad it has been. It is now much better. But 2006 will be nothing compared to what will happen if we pull out too soon. On the other hand, the improved situation we see today will be nothing compared to what we can achieve if we just finish the job.

Stephen

It comes down to our basic assumption. You think we cannot defeat the bad guys and that anything we do will only forstall the inevitable. I look at the fantasic and unexpected progress we have made and know that we CAN do it. To borrow the phrase, yes we can. Only in my usage we have experience to draw upon for our statement.

Posted by: Jack at March 3, 2008 12:04 AM
Comment #246933

4@+,/21+3(:) & Ray,
Bless you both!!!!
I realize I am steaming with fury over Sic Eagles’ innuendos and implications. I don’t even care for Obama!!!

S.Eagle, your attitude may just the one to make my decision for me. I was ever so slightly leaning toward McCain, but if you are any example of those who will vote and support the man, I don’t think I want anything to do with either the Republican Party or McCain.

Get it Sic Eagle - you push too hard and it may backfire on you.

Posted by: Linda H. at March 3, 2008 12:26 AM
Comment #246935

Linda, I certainly hope that you’re not serious about basing voting decisions on anger at blog-posters instead of a careful comparison of the candidates!

The entire debate about going into Iraq in the first place and the past conduct of the war will undoubtedly continue, but the more pressing issue—especially for the upcoming election—is what happens next.

Stephen cites Obama’s analogy of a bus that has been driven into the ditch. But even if you accept that analogy, even if you’re wholeheartedly angry at being a passenger in a bus that’s stuck in a ditch, your immediate concern is the present and future. You want to get out of that ditch and back on the highway. Not be sent a driver who has no experience with buses, has never driven one, and who only wants to talk about everything he thinks was wrong with the last driver.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 3, 2008 12:59 AM
Comment #246938

Stephen Daughtery

Negligent homicine is a lonnnggg way from “cold-blooded murder” as Murtha blasted all over the airwaves. Those statements were intentionial…and cost American lives

Linda

Wow…the first woman that I have ever influenced about anything!

You shouldn’t be furious with me. This is a deadly serious game, and right now about half the country is leaning either way. If Obama is your choice, by all means vote for him…while I may disagree, I will defend your right to do so.

On the other hand, in the final analysis, Obama has been on the job in Congress since 2005. A little over 3 years.

Let me remind you that the picture of Obama that circulated last week was thrown out there by the Clinton campaign…not the Mighty Eagle.

I was reading last night about what if the name Hitler was McCain’s middle name. Don’t you think Bill Maher would be haveing a field day? Or if it was Mussolini? I know I would.

For six months now, Obama has had a pass with the MSM. They love the guy. Geez, just look at what Tim Russert has done to Hilliary in the last couple debates. He ,along with other MSM folks are “objectively biased” …a term the Eagle has coined for those who operate under a guise of neutrality but really have a bias one way or the other. This goes for the folks at 60 Minutes and the folks at NBC.

So, when guys like the Eagle…who have supported the president’s policies ab initio…have an opportunity to tweak the nose of a candidate that has been given a free ride, well…we take it.

When I hold my nose and vote for McCain, I will do it not because Obama’s name is the middle name of Saddam, rather because in a terror war such as this I want an experienced guy who knows the trauma and the horror of war.

One last comment: McCain…a tortured war vet, spoke out against torture as an interrogation tool long before is was di rigor today.

Posted by: sicilian eagle at March 3, 2008 7:15 AM
Comment #246941

Eagle

So, when guys like the Eagle…who have supported the president’s policies ab initio…have an opportunity to tweak the nose of a candidate that has been given a free ride, well…we take it.

I guess I can assume by this analogy that the Eagle did not support GW in his elections. The man has had nothing but free rides his entire life. Or is the term free ride only important when it applies to a liberal candidate?

The Eagle certainly is entitled to support whatever policies he prefers. I did a quick search of the polls and found that they range in the 19 to 30% range for Bush approval. Which is a direct reflection on the support of Bush policy and current republican values. These numbers have been pretty consistent for quite a long time now. If anything they have gotten worse. I am wondering why should as many as 8 out of 10 people rally behind the ideals of the other two or three?

The Eagle is telling us that somehow he knows best what is good for us. He supports a presidency which has failed miserably. And his support of McCain is a continuation of past practice.

In lieu of the poll numbers at this point in time I think it is fair to say that the ideals of the Eagle can be fairly judged as radical and extreme. This is the analogy that is generally applied to any who fight against the views of the many.

Posted by: RickIL at March 3, 2008 9:34 AM
Comment #246942

Has anyone else noticed that 9 of the last 10 articles posted in the Republicans & Conservatives column (dating back to February 11) have been about Barack Obama and that 5 of the last 6 posts by Jack have been about Barack? Curious.

Posted by: RMD at March 3, 2008 9:45 AM
Comment #246943

Rick1l

The way I see it, his numbers still are higher than the Democtaticly-controlled Congress,no?

What say you on that?

The issue of McCain versus Obama (and believe me, if Hillary were the candidate instead of Obama…she would beat McCain while Obama will be beaten like a drum) will come down to one question and one question only:

Do you want to win or to lose in Iqaq?

I find it curious that 6 months ago, the entire Democratic population practicially…and bloggers like Seigal, American Pundut, Woody Mena, heck, even David Remer in the (center?) threw around the word “lost” like pennies.

Notice how that stopped as the surge worked? Now the mantra is “cost”. Rhymes with “lost” but with a different meanting entirely.

The best thing for Obama and for Hillary is that we “lost”, I think…and that is not going to happen unless Obama gets in.

My job, as an administration defender, is to fight tooth and nail here, on my blog,and throughout the blogshpere, to get Republicans off their fat arses and into the fray…as I did last election..and the election before.

You see…they drew first blood…they being the radicial elements of both the Sunni and Shia fanaticial sects which combined,control that religion now.

Posted by: sicilian eagle at March 3, 2008 10:19 AM
Comment #246944

RMD

I figure Barack is your nominee. He is skating by Hilary because she is trapped into not pointing out his obvious problems. She may also be beguiled by the rock star. I am not.

I notice the blue are writing a fair amount re McCain, BTW. Surprised?

Posted by: Jack at March 3, 2008 10:28 AM
Comment #246945
sicilian eagle wrote: When I hold my nose and vote for McCain, …
That is why John McCain will most likely lose the election (regardless of who the Democrat nomination is) … because John McCain has even alienated many Republican voters.

Despite John McCain’s having more compassion for illegal aliens, and a voting record almost identitcal to Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s on illegal immigration (or is it really profits and votes instead of compassion?), John McCain won’t even get much of the Hispanic vote.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 3, 2008 10:36 AM
Comment #246946

d.a.n

Not so, my friend. When push come to shove IF Omama gets the nomination, then watch what happens.

First, he will be attacked by his own words…he is not the consensus builder as he claims…he has the absolute most liberal voting record..supassing Teddy’s….that’s another thing…Kennedy…Obama is a Kennedy acolyte…who do you think is rounding up up all those superdelegate votes?

Second, IF he beats Clinton, bad feeling with that element of the party will cause them to be less than enthuestic that I am on McCain. He snookered Hilliary here by this run…a run that is vastly premature given his sparse experience on International and national policy.

Thirs, no one is Snow White…no one. I predict that a few skeletons of his…real or imagined…deep in that closet of his….now under lock and key…will be exposed mid campaign that will dull the luster of his candidacy. One right wing blogger posted his Kenyan extended family’s photo yesterday on his web site for example, showing Obama next to his step brother who IS a strict Muslim fundamnentalists and another with his cousin named..Fidel…named after Castro (maybe)

Now, I don’t know if these things are true, false or what…but this is an exapple of bare knuckle stuff that will sprew forth …and thatt some people are real good at getting out there.

I saw that photo of Obama a couple days before it went national. Me thinks a new batch of photos is on the way….

He better duck.

On the other hand, the Daily Kos, Move On.Org and all the rest of the left smear site have pretty much done the same,no?

Posted by: sicilian eagle at March 3, 2008 11:02 AM
Comment #246947

LO-
Look, most buses that go into ditches sustain damage, sometimes so much so that they can no longer run as originally intended. That’s what I believe to be the case.

Pardon me if the extended metaphor gets a little overwrought, but here goes: there were was a point where the bus had merely gone through the guard rail, and the idea of getting back on the road was considerably more realistic. Unfortunately, the actions of the driver of this bus have unbalanced the bus, and allowed it to go all the way into the ditch, smashing the engine (read: Iraqi government and general law and order) into pieces. You might be able to pull the bus out, but the thinking that you can still drive it away as planned, without somebody coming to fix and refit the bus right then and there, it’s not going anywhere.

Not unlike this war. Say what you want about reduced violence, that’s not unlike having gotten the passengers out, but having the bus in a landslide prone area where it’s raining.

Yeah. Now it’s getting overwrought. But you get the point. The Iraqi people are suffering less violence now than before, but with the number of troops we have there, we don’t really have the force capability of bringing Iraq back under control should the agreements keeping the peace break down.

This is why we keep telling you that reduced violence without political reconciliation is meaningless. We have no real control over the situation, and never have. Only when the Iraqis get their act together will things change.

The surge will be over soon, and it’s very unlikely that the reconciliation will take place. Meanwhile, American soldiers are being asked the impossible: to win a war where even a successful withdrawal is dependent on the fractious Iraqi politicians.

And you can’t seriously tell me that they’re anywhere close to making headway, not with the President talking about retaining soldiers in Iraq. You talk about the insurgents messing things up if we go, but if your strategy was really working, the Iraqi forces truly could take over for us, once and for all.

The Republican policy at this moment is based on the denial of an ugly truth: Iraq has been broken, and only the Iraqis can do anything close to fixing it. Our military, at best, is forced to referee between these parties, at the mercy of one side or another’s poor impulse control.

Is that victory? No, that’s defeat, and not one we’re likely to redeem any time soon. There’s no way to magically sow up Iraq as it once was, and the likelihood is, the Iraqis will ultimately decide the future of Iraq more than us. We’re like a teenaged boy who tries to interfere in an argument at a friends house between the parents. Worse yet, our reputation with those folks isn’t exactly good. It’s not really a fight we’re likely to win for those reasons.

It’s tough to admit the loss, and no doubt it will make us look weaker. However, it’s easier to recover from looking weak than becoming weak in real terms, which is what’s happening.

SE-
Statements that cost American lives. Hmm. Like Bush’s lawyers saying that disregarding the Geneva Convention and embracing torture were valid arguments? Or Bush telling the terrorists to “bring it on?” Or the Bush Administration peddling information they knew was unreliable in order to take us to war? Or maybe telling the guy who told him about Bin Laden being prepared to attack our country that he had covered his ass? If you want to get into a discussion about words costing people their lives, Let’s talk about how many people Bush’s words have killed.

If you look up Negligent Homicide, you’ll find it refers to failing to do something to protect somebody under your care from harm. When applied to a commanding officer or an interrogator, the charge usually applies to somebody who kills or allows a prisoner to be killed under their care. A recent case involved the death of an Iraqi general under an interrogator’s care is an example.

How would a charge like this apply to the commanding officer in this incident? How could people die under his care? It’s real simple: he failed to prevent soldiers under his command from killing prisoners or civilians under his care.

They probably would have slammed him with worse, but too much evidence was lost, too many witnesses went missing. The failure of a prompt investigation into the matter means we don’t know who did what to whom quite as well as we should.

Don’t think that incidents such as these fade in the memories of the Iraqis. It doesn’t contribute to victory, or to the safety of our soldiers at all to pretend like events like this aren’t happening. The Iraqis find out on their own. All your rhetoric would serve to do would be to keep Americans ignorant, and the only ones who benefit from that are the politicians who don’t want to admit that their leadership on the war has been so lacking that events like this have gone on.

You aren’t truly protecting the soldiers from anything, regardless of your good intentions. Defending coverups only encourages more of them, and coverups encourage the kind of behavior which the sick psychos and adversaries of our country use to justify their dark methods, gain new recruits. It’s one thing for them to make up crap about us to undermine support for what we do; it only makes things worse for our sins to be real.

As for getting Republicans off their… Well, you’ve got a problem: despite a year of this surge, the only good thing going on is the reduction violence. Everything else isn’t working. Meanwhile, Obama’s out there saying pretty much what people are thinking: tactical win, but no strategic win.

The Iraqis should not be depending upon us for their security. It’s not healthy for them or us. We don’t have the resources to sustain it, and while they’re dependent on us, the war continues, and no country stays very cohesive in a state of constant warfare. You can’t have airstrikes in people’s backyards and expect everything to get back to normal.

As for Shia and Sunni radicals controling the religion? You’ve got to be kidding. It’s funny that Jack up there talks about takfiri, and you don’t even know about it, it seems: they hate folks like that. However, when we show up and invade one of their countries, and turn it into a failed state, it makes it much easier for people like them to sell their agenda.

You will not beat the violent radicals who attack us by simple attrition. You have to cut off their appeal, their support. This war has been counter-productive, and hasn’t been one whit of help in getting us closer to the bastard who really attacked us.

Finally, let me say something: That Saddam Hussein has a last name like Barack Obama’s middle name is not only coincidence, but one that was pretty much meaningless until about 1990. Barack Obama was born in 1961, so for the first thirty or so years of his life, his middle name was hardly a synonym for evil.

I hope those facts illustrate how silly this whole thing is. Your people are playing the fear card, using a meaningless coincidence (Not unlike the names of Lincoln and Kennedy’s secretaries) to imply non-existent connections.

We need to get people in the White House and Congress who follow meaningful information, not those who chase coincidences, bare suspicions, racial, ethnic, and religious prejudices while missing the real threats.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 3, 2008 11:36 AM
Comment #246950
sicilian eagle wrote: d.a.n Not so, my friend. When push come to shove IF Omama gets the nomination, then watch what happens.
You don’t know that.

NOTE: above, I wrote: “John McCain will most likely lose the election”
We will see (come 4-Nov-2008).
A lot can happen in 8 months.
All will a lot of mud on them before it is all over with.
But, even if you are speaking in terms of probability, your argument for McCain’s chances of winning are very weak.
At the moment, McCain’s chances are dismal.

sicilian eagle wrote: First, he will be attacked by his own words…he is not the consensus builder as he claims…he has the absolute most liberal voting record..supassing Teddy’s….that’s another thing…Kennedy…Obama is a Kennedy acolyte…who do you think is rounding up up all those superdelegate votes?
And Obama’s words and voting record should be scrutinized.

Unfortunately, all three (McCain, Obama and Hillary) have lousy voting records on illegal immigration (one of the top issues).
McCain and Hillary both voted to use force in Iraq (based on flawed intelligence), and Obama has an edge with most Americans because he opposed it.
And since the ECONOMY is at the top of the list, and if it weren’t for Hillary’s and McCain’s pathetic positions on illegal immigration, both could be hammering away at Obama on the economic impact of illegal immigration (e.g. an estimated $70 Billion to $338; i.e. $1.4 Billion to $6.8 Billion per state in annual net losses; that could pay for a lot of health care, eh?). But, since all 3 have pathetic voting records on that major issue, all 3 have to scramble for other things. The problem is, they are all more similar, than disimilar.

At any rate, the all have voting records that stink, but John McCain’s and Hillary Clinton’s stink the most.

sicilian eagle wrote: First, he [Obama] will be attacked by his own words…
Also, logic does not always have a lot to do with who the voters vote for.

For example, there is also nothing logical about most voters giving Do-Nothing Congress dismally low 11%-to-18% approval ratings (www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN1844140220070919), and then the voters repeatedly rewarding those same irresponsible, corrupt, do-nothing incumbent politicians with 93%-to-99% re-election rates?

sicilian eagle wrote: Second, IF he beats Clinton, bad feeling with that element of the party will cause them to be less than enthuestic that I am on McCain. He snookered Hilliary here by this run…a run that is vastly premature given his sparse experience on International and national policy.
You’re dreaming if you think many Democrat voters (that supported Hillary) will pick McCain over Obama.
sicilian eagle wrote: Thirs, no one is Snow White…no one. I predict that a few skeletons of his…real or imagined…deep in that closet of his….now under lock and key…will be exposed mid campaign that will dull the luster of his candidacy. One right wing blogger posted his Kenyan extended family’s photo yesterday on his web site for example, showing Obama next to his step brother who IS a strict Muslim fundamnentalists and another with his cousin named..Fidel…named after Castro (maybe)
So? I saw Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein.

I saw Georged W. Bush (42) waving a Mexican flag.
And John McCain admitted on NPR (year 2005) that one of his biggest regrets while in Congress was “looking the other way”.
What are we to gather from these things?

sicilian eagle wrote: Now, I don’t know if these things are true, false or what…but this is an exapple of bare knuckle stuff that will sprew forth …and thatt some people are real good at getting out there. I saw that photo of Obama a couple days before it went national. Me thinks a new batch of photos is on the way…. He better duck.
Thus far, it appears as mere innuendo.

How about some hard facts?
The reason for innuendo and other nonsense is usually due to the lack of facts.

sicilian eagle wrote: On the other hand, the Daily Kos, Move On.Org and all the rest of the left smear site have pretty much done the same,no?
I wouldn’t know, since I don’t visit those sites.

But neither side has the upper-hand when it comes to smear tactics, fueling, and wallowing in the circular, divisive, distracting partisan warfare.

At any rate, when the most stauch and partisanly loyal supporters of John McCain, such as the self-proclaimed Mighty Sicilian Eagle writes:

Sicilian Eagle wrote: When I hold my nose and vote for McCain, …
you know John McCain’s chances are dismal.

And if that isn’t enough, just look at the money flow. If the money is any indication of John McCain’s popularity, then John McCain’s chances of winning the election are dismal …

Federal Campaign Donations:

  • Candidate’s ___ # $200+ _ %Donors __ # $2,300+ _ %Donors _ # $4,600 _ %Donors

  • Name: ________ Donors __ upto $200 _ Donors ____ $2300+ __ Donors ___ $4,600

  • ________________ ________ ___________ __________ _________ ________ _______
  • Clinton, Hillary ___ 57,975 ___ 12% ___ 19,949 _____ 63% _____ 7,411 ______ 33%

  • Obama, Barack __ 69,628 ___ 26% ___ 16,259 _____ 43% _____ 1,964 ______ 10%

  • McCain, John ____ 27,205 ___ 22% ____ 6,183 _____ 45% ______ 731 _______ 9%
  • John McCain’s chances are dismal, unless voter sentiments change drastically between now and 4-NOV-2008, because:

    • (1) most voter donations (of all sizes) are not going to John McCain.

    • (2) Most (vastly more) of the largest donations (of $4,600) are going to to BOTH Democrat candidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

    • (3) John McCain’s share of the $4,600 donations is a tiny 7.8%

    • (4) John McCain’s share of the $2,300+ donations is a dismal 14.6%

    • (5) John McCain’s share of the smaller $200 (or less) donations is only 17.6%

    • (6) John McCain has alienated many in his conservative base on many issues (e.g. illegal immigration, McCain-Feingold campaign finance, Iraq, taxation, economic issues (admitted lack of understanding in that area), etc., just to name a few).
    And John McCain has been in Congress a long, long time (since year 1982). What has he done in all that time to reduce these other abuses and pressing problems, growing in number and severity?

    And since most voters put the ECONOMY at the top of their list of issues, John McCain might want to study-up a bit on economics (seeing how McCain admits that economic is not his strong suit; and I’ve seen him defer and dodge questions on economics), because the monetary-system (i.e. falling U.S. Dollar; one-simple-idea.com/USD_Falling.gif), trade deficits, massive federal debt, $9.3 Trillion National Debt, $20 trillion personal nation-wide debt, and $48 Trillion nation-wide debt should be of a bit more concern. After all, how will he continue to wage wage war in foreign nations for up to 100 years (not to mention staioning hundreds of thousands of troops worldwide) if the economy tanks and the government and Federal Reserve can not print, borrow, or tax enough to fund it?

    Posted by: d.a.n at March 3, 2008 11:42 AM
    Comment #246952

    Stephen

    Here is a number that will stick in your throat:

    ZERO

    That is how many attacks have occurred on US soil since September 11, 2001.

    Zilch, Nada, Neinte, Zippo.

    Meanwhile, Saddam..the killer of hundreds of thousands..is busy decomposing with his two lovley kids..same with that Jordanian who went into Northern Iraq in 2002 (See Obama? Al Quida HAS been there,you dolt)

    Bin Laden is in a cave in Pakastan somewhere communicating by carrier pidgeon…and new sovereign nations (plural) were born in Iraq in both Iraq and Afganistan.

    Meanwhile, graves are full of blow-up jihadists who know that if they stick their hate infested heads out of their rat holes that a present will be coming at them courtesy of the US military .

    Another thing, Stephen….the surge STARTED mid spring last year. The troop build-up was COMPLETED in September.

    In August,Reid, Murtha, Feingold and evey other Democratic cyote was carping that the surge was a failure.

    Crap.

    PLUS, negligent homicide has nothing whatsoever to do with the marines ON the ground in Haditha. You twist facts, as you usually do to serve your arguement. For once…just once…admit that Murtha made a mistake calling those Marines cold-blooded killers. Just once get off that left leaning keyboard and admit the truth.

    Posted by: sicilian eagle at March 3, 2008 12:04 PM
    Comment #246953

    d.a.n

    Remind me to hire you as my accountant…you are always excellent with facts and figures. I enjoy all your comments, even those most disagree with mine.

    The best part of all this is that for the nex six months we can all have fun !

    Posted by: sicilian eagle at March 3, 2008 12:08 PM
    Comment #246957

    sicilian eagle,

    FINALLY!!! You actually posted a message that shows that perhaps you to do take our country and our future president (whom ever that may be)in with the seriousness and careful thought it deserves.

    You wrote:

    This is a deadly serious game, and right now about half the country is leaning either way.

    I totally agree with you - except it’s not a GAME - it’s very real, and very important-and it should be taken so.

    I am\was furious with you because you did not treat this election with any honesty or truth. Instead you chose to continue your ‘playful’ snide comments, without realizing the damage you could to your own beliefs. You seemed more interested in demeaning a man’s character with the use of totally incorrect information, instead of being truthful and honest. And worse of all you continued to do so even after I called you on it. Misleading innuendos are not FACTS.

    Suppose I implied the men (animals?) who held McCain prisoner were Devil worshipers? What if I went further and photo-shopped him praying to a goat for food? The implication being clear - John McCain is now a Satanist. Wouldn’t you want me to back up my facts? How would you react? I expect you would either blow me off as crazy, or perhaps be concerned that my allegations might actually take hold and some fool would believe me.

    It is my belief, that we should stick to the truth, be honest, and NOT play with the facts. As it appears that neither party wants to do either, perhaps we have the opportunity to teach them.


    Posted by: Linda H. at March 3, 2008 12:46 PM
    Comment #246962

    SE-
    That’s exactly how many terrorist attacks occured during the Clinton Administration after the attack in 1993. Zero. Which is to say that just like that number was meaningless in 2001, it could be meaningless in 2009.

    Meanwhile, we see a number of terrorist attacks on our allies and our military interests, which is essentially what happened during the Clinton Administration. So do I feel safer? No. Recent history has demonstrated to me the folly of such complacent thinking.

    Worse than complacent thinking is this tendency among some on the right to insist that policies that aren’t working be given indefinite time to work before they’re dropped on the ashheap of history. It bugs the crap out of me. If the Republicans were willing to more quickly admit the small defeats, they could have dealt with them earlier, and earned the larger victory. Instead, they refuse to acknowledge the situation, and then insist on an indefinite presence.

    This presences it seems, is designed to wear out the opposition. But in the real world, they have the homefield advantage. They can stay for as long as it takes. They don’t have the same logistical challenges we do. Unless we permanently integrate their economy into ours and make a colony of them, we cannot support an indefinite war.

    Brevity isn’t merely the soul of wit, it’s the soul of good strategy in foreign wars. You don’t want a long one if you can help it, you want to keep things short and sweet, or failing that, prepare yourself properly for the long haul.

    What I think is that the Bush adminstration was not prepared politically to ask people for that kind of sacrifice. They misled people, then, and attempted a strategy that would have had the beginning of the end in August. They did their best to political pressure the Defense and Diplomatic establishment into just that kind of war, and then just pushed it through. In the process, though, they deliberately ignored good advice and critical points of importance in the set up of the war, and for further and obvious political reasons, they subsequently failed to fix their errors.

    Which brings us to the Surge. The surge is, to paraphrase Michael Herr’s narration from Apocalypse Now like handing a band-aid to somebody we’ve just blown in half with a machine gun. Iraq is still in utter disarray, with large factions holding essential control over parts of the country and the cities, and many figures fielding their own private armies. The Central government is weak, which some Republicans love to rationalize as ideal, but that doesn’t do much good for a fractious nation like Iraq.

    What you folks call success is nowhere near enough to get Iraq back on its feet. It’s just a way of rationalizing that you did all you could, and to further blame the Democrats for a policy that your people lead the charge for and executed yourselves.

    As for Haditha, I’m not twisting the facts. It’s you who rejects an incident documented by the Armed forces themselves. It’s you who refuses to consider the implications of a negligent homicide charge, the necessary preconditions that would bring it about. I can understand the sympathy for the soldiers, but I also believe in holding my country and my military to higher standards. It’s no use saying we’re the best country in the world, the most enlightened, with the most honorable, well-trained troops, if we do not hold ourselves to such standards.

    The source of our pride should not be arrogant presumption of virtue, but a diligent, motivated effort to do the right thing, and to make sure what we’re doing is the right thing. That is why I’m willing to acknowledge that something ugly may have happened: to make sure that such ugly things are the exception that proves the rule, not the rule itself.

    Without such a motivated pursuit of excellence, we fall into traps of complacency, make bad assumptions about what works and what doesn’t.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 3, 2008 2:06 PM
    Comment #246967

    Eagle

    How many times have we heard that tired old comparison of a democrat controlled congress with ratings lower than GW. That analogy in its convenient simplicity does not take into account the reality of republican obstructionism. It is not and has not fooled anyone who pays attention to the workings of congress.

    I would have preferred that we would have won in Iraq. To date we have won nothing. The proclaimed need to stay in Iraq for another 100 years if necessary is not indicative of having won anything. The original estimate of the cost of invading Iraq by the Bush administration was 50 billion dollars. That amount now covers about three months of occupation. The Iraqi’s have been given enough of my money. We have given way to many lives in the procurement of oil. They have had more than enough time to get their ducks in order. So long as we continue to feed them at the breast they will never be motivated to achieve goals on their own. It is time to bring our troops and our money home so that we can focus on items such as infrastructure, education, health care, economics etc. We are not obligated to babysit the Iraqi’s forever. It is time to stop letting energy issues dominate our lifestyle in the form of nation building in an oil rich country.

    Good luck motivating your party. You will need it. It is my opinion that Clinton or Obama either one will be an easy win against McCain. It simply is not a good time for the republican party. Very few have any faith in their ability or desire to take our country in the proper direction. John McCain and his support of current policy is testament to that fact.

    Posted by: RickIL at March 3, 2008 2:53 PM
    Comment #246971

    Linda

    The Mighty Eagle is a sensitive, thought-provoking guy. :)

    He’s tough as nails, though.

    Stephen.

    Please. Had Clinton done something (or someone) other than Monica, he would have realized that OBL had declared war on us .

    This is old,tired stuff.

    Clinton’s non-action directly caused OBL to flourush…no ifs,ands or buts.

    In the “gap” period of January 2001 to August 2001,the new administration was just getting its feet wet,for heaven’s sake. Clinto had betwee ‘93 and 2001 to kill that bum.

    Negligent homicide is a charge for the superior officers. You know that Murtha was talking about the grunts. It simply has nothing to do in any discussion with what he said.

    Not only that, my friend, but you view of the surge is myopic. In Febuary, 29 brave lads lost their life in defense of America. I (and I am sure everyone here) grieves deeply for their souls. However, that number is far far lower than pre-surge levels…much lower. Even in that context, the surge is a success.

    Now: of the hundreds of mistakes made (Bremmer canning the Baathist,Rummy deciding that a light attack force and not a heavy occupation force was the answer,plus the military’s making many mistakes (the prison, light armoured humvees,non-existent flak jackets, no translators…the list goes on…) all are rectified now. Today this army is equipped to go anywhere in that area and dominate anyone.

    By the way…we better cast an eye to South America today….

    Posted by: sicilian eagle at March 3, 2008 3:44 PM
    Comment #246983

    Eagle, you told d.a.n a few posts back how we will be having fun the next six months. Good, for the first time since the Dunce was selected. Do you know what a barrel of oil was selling for before we invaded Iraq? $30.00 a barrel. Today, $103.00 a barrel. And this is fun?

    Posted by: ray at March 3, 2008 6:31 PM
    Comment #246991

    SE-
    You’re slicing this tomato too thin. A charge of Negligent homicide, which I looked up, implies helplessness on the part of the victim, and either lethal recklessness or inaction on the part of the perpetrator.

    A number of people were killed. The true nature of what happened was covered up, reported as the result of an IED. Further investigation, though, found this explanation to be untenable.

    When this came to the media’s attention, the investigation was a source of many of the facts in question. Their investigation has lead them to believe that by the commander’s inaction or recklessness, a number of civilians came to die unlawfully.

    The pundits on the right have had a screaming hissy fit about judging the soldiers guilty before innocent, but there’s a difference between saying that it was very likely something bad happened, which the evidence strongly supports, and assigning individual blame.

    As for the mistakes? There’s a pattern to them, in the way they did not listen to folks, in the way they shut out everybody else. It’s not like they aimed to fail, but they were more concerned about outcompeting their rivals and adversaries inside and outside of their organizations than getting the policy right. They were also more concerned about guarding against political advances from the left than getting things right once they were on the ground. They made choices concerning numbers, concerning admissions that there weren’t WMDs, and concerning what they said and did about the escalating violence that made better sense political than they did militarily, and they and plenty of soldiers and Iraqi civilians paid for that.

    The Republicans have internalized this notion that their political manuevers are part of America’s existential struggle to survive, that if they lose, the country loses with them. It’s not done you much good. It’s gotten you in a position where you really don’t have a lot of wiggle room, or room to admit mistakes and misapprehensions. Policy thinking has become stagnant under the Republicans, and that is one of many things people want a change from.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 3, 2008 7:40 PM
    Comment #248897

    The Senator from Illinois has problems with the truth. His staff are a better source like this slip on how the Senator from Illinois trully believes. Just like NAFTA, one knows that once in office the Senator from Illinois will support Canada and all other nations above America as clearly reported by his staff.

    Americans should not forget Sen. Barack Obama’s close associations. As expected, the news media continues to downplay Illinois Senator’s beliefs of his friend and Pastor, Jeremiah Wright. What is alarming about the Illinois Senator is that this friendship is but one of many similar relationships to include his fellow state Senator James Meeks that also used vulgar and anti-American jargon as reported by the AP. According to Fox News, one must consider that the Illinois Senator is a friend with FBI former number one Most Wanted terrorists. As reported by all the News Media Networks, like Pastor Wright the Illinois Senator calls Tony Rezko a close friend. The Chicago newspaper and all News Media Networks have buried these relationships. Americans must not forget whom the Illinois Senator considers as close friends. America cannot afford to have Sen. Obama and his friends in the White House.

    Posted by: Dr. Rene, USAF Retired, Recently at March 22, 2008 5:36 PM
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