Category Archives: Foreign Policy

Is the McCain Campaign Just Plain Snakebit?

The McCain campaign can’t seem to do anything right.

Whether it’s microphones not working at a recent town hall meeting, to a reported flat tire on his campaign bus, “The Straight Talk Express,’ to money troubles, to needling Barack Obama to visit Iraq, then whining about the subsequent lack of media attention as a result of the trip, John McCain can’t seem to do anything right. And the conseqeunces are beginning to take their toll.

John McCain’s negative attacks on Barack Obama haven’t resulted in any traction whatsoever, so now his campaign has resorted to just making things up.

McCain’s latest charge is that that Obama is responsible for high fuel prices at the pump. Yet that snake venom is evident once again, as prices started dropping almost the day McCain made the remarks.

Maybe the McCain campaign is running out of gas.

All of this has resulted in a lack of media coverage for John McCain. In fact, major news stories about Obama outpace McCain by a margin of 4 to 1!  At least McCain is complaining for a good reason.

This was bolstered by Obama’s favorable media coverage of his trip to Europe and the Middle East, where he looked presidential as he rubbed elbows with world leaders and dignitaries, as if he had already won the presidency.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, McCain landed in New Hampshire and was met at the airport by a lone reporter.

That qualifies as a bad sign, I think.

McCain is whining that the media is ignoring him, but the fact of the matter is that his talking points are flawed and somewhat flat. Why would anybody want to pay attention? Maybe the media, and in fact the country, is finally realizing that that McCain and the Republican Party, have nothing new to offer, except more of the same.

Bad luck and blunders have a way of draining the life out of any campaign. McCain should thank his lucky stars that the media is still covering him at all! Even McCain’s major gaffes are ignored at this point. For example, the media has not called McCain out on his major foreign policy errors, including his belief that there is an Iraq-Pakistan border? CBS News edited out part of his interview with Katie Couric when McCain bungled the Anbar timeline. He also thinks Czechoslovakia still exists. Then there was the McCain’s trip abroad, when he didn’t know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite.

Whew.

A piece of advice for the McCain campaign: Sometimes you need to change what you are doing in order to manufacture some of your own good luck, and the media will follow. Stop trying to pick a philosophical fight about who has the most experience. McCain may be older and wiser, but Obama is winning the battle on who has better judgment. 

At this point, the only person the media likes less than McCain is Bush, and that’s not saying much. 

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Filed under Democratic Party, Election 2008, Foreign Policy, George Bush, Politics, Republican Party

John McCain’s New York Times Op-Ed That Never Was

Conservatives are up in arms over the New York Times’ decision to pull an op-ed piece that John McCain wrote in response to Barack Obama’s op-ed regarding, Iraq.

Here is the text:

In January 2007, when General David Petraeus took command in Iraq, he called the situation “hard” but not “hopeless.” Today, 18 months later, violence has fallen by up to 80 percent to the lowest levels in four years, and Sunni and Shiite terrorists are reeling from a string of defeats. The situation now is full of hope, but considerable hard work remains to consolidate our fragile gains.

Progress has been due primarily to an increase in the number of troops and a change in their strategy. I was an early advocate of the surge at a time when it had few supporters in Washington. Senator Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent. “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,” he said on January 10, 2007. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”

Now Senator Obama has been forced to acknowledge that “our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence.” But he still denies that any political progress has resulted.

Perhaps he is unaware that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has recently certified that, as one news article put it, “Iraq has met all but three of 18 original benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress.” Even more heartening has been progress that’s not measured by the benchmarks. More than 90,000 Iraqis, many of them Sunnis who once fought against the government, have signed up as Sons of Iraq to fight against the terrorists. Nor do they measure Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s new-found willingness to crack down on Shiite extremists in Basra and Sadr City — actions that have done much to dispel suspicions of sectarianism.

The success of the surge has not changed Senator Obama’s determination to pull out all of our combat troops. All that has changed is his rationale. In a New York Times op-ed and a speech this week, he offered his “plan for Iraq” in advance of his first “fact finding” trip to that country in more than three years. It consisted of the same old proposal to pull all of our troops out within 16 months. In 2007 he wanted to withdraw because he thought the war was lost. If we had taken his advice, it would have been. Now he wants to withdraw because he thinks Iraqis no longer need our assistance.

To make this point, he mangles the evidence. He makes it sound as if Prime Minister Maliki has endorsed the Obama timetable, when all he has said is that he would like a plan for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops at some unspecified point in the future.

Senator Obama is also misleading on the Iraqi military’s readiness. The Iraqi Army will be equipped and trained by the middle of next year, but this does not, as Senator Obama suggests, mean that they will then be ready to secure their country without a good deal of help. The Iraqi Air Force, for one, still lags behind, and no modern army can operate without air cover. The Iraqis are also still learning how to conduct planning, logistics, command and control, communications, and other complicated functions needed to support frontline troops.

No one favors a permanent U.S. presence, as Senator Obama charges. A partial withdrawal has already occurred with the departure of five “surge” brigades, and more withdrawals can take place as the security situation improves. As we draw down in Iraq, we can beef up our presence on other battlefields, such as Afghanistan, without fear of leaving a failed state behind. I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.

But I have also said that any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons. This is the crux of my disagreement with Senator Obama.

Senator Obama has said that he would consult our commanders on the ground and Iraqi leaders, but he did no such thing before releasing his “plan for Iraq.” Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t want to hear what they have to say. During the course of eight visits to Iraq, I have heard many times from our troops what Major General Jeffrey Hammond, commander of coalition forces in Baghdad, recently said: that leaving based on a timetable would be “very dangerous.”

The danger is that extremists supported by Al Qaeda and Iran could stage a comeback, as they have in the past when we’ve had too few troops in Iraq. Senator Obama seems to have learned nothing from recent history. I find it ironic that he is emulating the worst mistake of the Bush administration by waving the “Mission Accomplished” banner prematurely.

I am also dismayed that he never talks about winning the war — only of ending it. But if we don’t win the war, our enemies will. A triumph for the terrorists would be a disaster for us. That is something I will not allow to happen as president. Instead I will continue implementing a proven counterinsurgency strategy not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan with the goal of creating stable, secure, self-sustaining democratic allies.

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Mid Day Discussion – David and Goliath, Iran is Defiant

Iran has launched several “test missiles” and shelled Northern Iraq in response to recent sabre rattling by the U.S. and Israel. Iran has also indicated that their “finger is on the trigger” if they are attacked by Israel or the U.S. Do you think the U.S. and/or Israel will be involved with Iran in warfare by the end of this year? 

Link to CNN story here

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House Passes New War Funding Bill as Democrats Cave Once Again

The latest Iraq war funding bill passed the House on Thursday, along with historic increases in college aid for returning troops and help for the unemployed, and Midwestern flood victims.

Pro-war Republicans with their Democratic counterparts in a 268-155 vote that provides $162 billion to fund U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan well into next year.

The White House issued a statement supporting the legislation:

The measure provides $2.7 billion infusion of emergency flood relief for the Midwest. The bill would provide the total to more than $650 billion – the amount provided by Congress for the war in Iraq since it started five years ago. Nearly $200 billion in additional funding has gone to operations in Afghanistan.

It also would give Bush’s successor several months to set Iraq policy after taking office in January.

“The way it’s been set up now, whoever … is president will have a few months to think through how we are going to extricate ourselves,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey.

Congressional business as usual. Just thought you might want to know where your tax money is going.

Read full story here

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Chavez Says He Will Meet Next U.S. President

Long time Bush administration nemesis, Hugo Chavez, said Saturday he wants to work together with the next U.S. president. Specifically, he believes that Venezuela and the United States should cooperate to resolve problems including world hunger, energy shortages and climate change.

Huh.

Of course we know that meeting won’t happen with John McCain, as he has adopted the draconian Bush position, that Chavez is an immediate threat to the U.S.

“Whoever is the next president of the United States, I’d like start preparing the way to start working together,” said Chavez.

Barack Obama has said repeatedly that he would meet with leaders of countries considered to be a “threat” to the United States, including Iran, Syria and Venezuela. Obama explained why he thinks it is important to meet with those leaders.

“The reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them  – which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration – is ridiculous,” Obama said.

John McCain’s position is the exact opposite. He has said Obama’s willingness to speak with the leaders of Iran and other US enemies shows Obama’s “inexperience and reckless judgment.”

He is specific on Iran.

“An unconditional summit meeting with the next American president would confer both international legitimacy on the Iranian president and could strengthen him domestically when he is unpopular among the Iranian people,” McCain said, according to remarks provided by his campaign. He added: “The next President ought to understand such basic realities of international relations.”

What McCain fails to grasp is that these “enemies” have become embolden as a direct result of failed U.S. foreign policy, and Chavez’s hatred of Bush. This hatred is shared among many world leaders including Putin. Chavez, if massaged the right way, can only help the U.S., especially in the area of energy policy. He is a dynamic force in Central America, and one of our major oil producers. 

In case you haven’t noticed, Chavez never comments on hating America, or Americans – only Bush. The same goes for Putin, Ahmadinejad, and others. Could it be that Bush and his poison policies are to blame?

I’m guessing yes.

Could it also be that these so-called “enemies” might not be enemies at all if it weren’t for the titanic stupidity of this administration? They might even be allies – perish the thought.

Moreover, do we want to elect a ‘Kennedy-like’ president who will sit down with his foes on the brink on war, or should we elect someone who wants to re-tread policies that have already been tried – and failed miserably? 

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Filed under Election 2008, Foreign Policy, George Bush, Politics