by John Allison III
After spending the summer and fall trying to cram an unwanted government takeover of the US health care system down the throats of the American people, he’s finally managed to get a bill passed in the House and its companion bill debated on the floor of the Senate. Now’s the time most would expect a final push, a strategic surge, a call on the very reserves of his energy and effort, to cross the finish line with legislation that could ultimately define his presidency.
But, instead of a network news health care infomercial starring the President, he decided to shift gears this week. Suddenly he’s stepped forward with a response to General McChrystal’s request for more troops in Afghanistan, decided to attend the climate change conference in Copenhagen, and Thursday held a “jobs summit” at the White House. Is he counting his chickens before they hatch? Does he believe he has this battle won, so he’s already tackling the next challenge? It’s just hard to imagine after he’s focused on little else for months now, that suddenly the issue no longer draws his attention.
Of course, it could be by design. All smoke and mirrors to confuse and confound.
Sort of like Nancy Pelosi’s Saturday at midnight vote to pass her vision of “reform” that places our health care decisions in the hands of government bureaucrats, or Harry Reid’s choice to hold the vote to move his bill forward on the Saturday night before Thanksgiving, President Obama is now hoping to take the eye of the American taxpayer off the ball in the last seconds of the game.
His jobs summit isn’t so much about jobs, but it’s just one part of a plan designed to turn the heads of the majority of voters who oppose his vision for the health care system, distracting them long enough to let the bill squeeze through before they realize it.
Think about it…three months after McChrystal issued his request for 40,000 troops, three months of facing harsh criticism for “dithering” while American troops twisted in the wind, he comes forth with a decision that sends the health care story to the inside pages of newspapers across the country. Just one month after we heard the President wouldn’t be attending the climate conference in Copenhagen, Obama has suddenly done a 180 and decided not only to attend but to promise a 17% cut in US carbon emissions by 2020. And now the “jobs summit.”
Don’t be surprised to see the front page too crowded by all these announcements to adequately cover the health care debate over the next couple of weeks. Look for the mainstream media to fall in line and lead with these stories and others to give cover to Democratic Senators trying to tow their party line while their constituents are distracted.
Obama and his Democratic lackeys in the Senate know Americans don’t trust the government to administer the health care system, but THEY DON’T CARE! In their minds, we’re incapable of knowing what’s best for us.
They’re creating a diversion, hoping to distract us and force us to swallow their “reform.”
Don’t take your eyes off the health care debate until it’s dead!
by Charles Krauthammer at Townhall.com
We shall fight in the air, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields, we shall fight in the hills — for 18 months. Then we start packing for home.
We shall never surrender — unless the war gets too expensive, in which case, we shall quote Eisenhower on “the need to maintain balance in and among national programs” and then insist that “we can’t simply afford to ignore the price of these wars.”
The quotes are from President Obama’s West Point speech announcing the Afghanistan troop surge. What a strange speech it was — a call to arms so ambivalent, so tentative, so defensive.
Which made his last-minute assertion of “resolve unwavering” so hollow. It was meant to be stirring. It fell flat. In August, he called Afghanistan “a war of necessity.” On Tuesday night, he defined “what’s at stake” as “the common security of the world.” The world, no less. Yet, we begin leaving in July 2011?
Does he think that such ambivalence is not heard by the Taliban, by Afghan peasants deciding which side to choose, by Pakistani generals hedging their bets, by NATO allies already with one foot out of Afghanistan?
Nonetheless, most supporters of the Afghanistan War were satisfied. They got the policy, the liberals got the speech. The hawks got three-quarters of what Gen. Stanley McChrystal wanted — 30,000 additional U.S. troops — and the doves got a few soothing words. Big deal, say the hawks.
But it is a big deal. Words matter because will matters.
13 dead, and 28 wounded as of this moment. Yesterday, Muslim Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan went on a shooting rampage at Ft. Hood, TX and radical Islam struck another blow against our country and our way of life.
While President Obama “dithers” and our soldiers in Afghanistan continue to die, our enemies become more emboldened and convinced they can outlast us and eventually defeat us. His international apology tour earlier this spring, his patronizing address to the Muslim radicals who seek to destroy us, his shutting down the Gitmo detention center for our terrorist enemies, his seeking to prosecute CIA interrogators who obtained information that saved American lives, and now his refusal to give troops in the field the resources they need to protect themselves and complete their mission are all working to strengthen our enemies and weaken our ability to defend ourselves.
President Obama’s decision to prematurely withdraw from Iraq has had exactly the effect those who understand military strategy thought it would. Our terrorist enemies have shifted the bulk of their resources from the flat, open terrain along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers to the rugged, mountainous terrain of Afghanistan–a land that hasn’t been conquered since Alexander the Great stormed seized control of the territory around 330 BC.
In short, our inexperienced President has played right into the enemy’s hands.
And though Obama, his left-wing allies in Congress, and peaceniks everywhere hypothesized that our involvement in Iraq aided terrorists’ recruitment efforts, it’s his policies of shifting the battlefield from one that is more favorable to one that is less favorable to our men, machines, and tactics that has sparked the greatest increase in enemy attacks since before President Bush’s “surge” in Iraq. These perceived victories for our enemies are the real catalysts for the Taliban recruiting bonanza in Afghanistan.
But it’s also sure to serve as a motivating tool for disenchanted Islamists around the world to join their brothers and sisters to fight the infidel.
We saw this earlier this year when radical Muslim Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad murdered Pvt William Long and wounded Pvt Quinton Ezeagwula at a Little Rock, AR Army recruiting station. Two soldiers targeted by a radical, American born Muslim for serving their country…the US…the infidel. Now we see it again, to a higher degree, at Ft. Hood, TX. Another radical Islamist, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, murdered 13 and wounded 30 more.
For months before the Little Rock attack, the FBI had supposedly been tracking Muhammad because his activities had drawn suspicion of terrorist tendencies. But some have stated the FBI had been told to “back off” suspected Muslim terrorists in the US prior to the Little Rock attack. In the Ft. Hood case, we now know Hasan had drawn the attention of the FBI at least six months prior to his murderous rampage. One must wonder, just what restrictions have been placed on the professional investigators at the FBI that prevented them from being close enough to prevent this tragedy.
A man who served his country as an Army psychiatrist at Ft. Hood for the past six years. According to a Fox News article on the shooting, Hasan recently received a poor job review. Why would this man, who apparently performed his job satisfactorily the past six years, suddenly become disenchanted and frustrated to the point that he would take up arms, attack, and murder his comrades?
Was he motivated by a Commander-In-Chief who apologizes for every international action ever taken by the US, who praises Islam and snubs Christianity at every opportunity, whose military strategy comes from snobbish Ivy League scholars who’ve never carried a rifle, or operated a tank? As the Taliban continues to gain strength, and their victories receive more press, and the President continues to “dither” and leave deployed American forces in a sort of uncertain limbo, expect more and more radical Islamists to emboldened and compelled to lash out. Both here and abroad.
And as long as President Obama continues to provide aid and comfort to our enemy, through direct propaganda and appeasement, and through his elitist, idealistic approach to military strategy, each one of these deaths should be laid at his doorstep.
The blame is yours Mr. President.
It’s been more than two months since General McChrystal sent President Obama his request for more troops. More than two months since McChrystal told the President we will likely lose the war without additional manpower. In those two months, President Obama has failed to give US combat troops the support they are due. And today, to add insult to injury, he exploited those soldiers he has helped kill by posing for a photo op as their bodies were being offloaded at Dover Air Force Base.
Obama made use of his fawning admirers in the mainstream press to represent his reprehensible appearance as an effort to “honor the fallen.” General McChrystal, his troops in Afghanistan, and veterans understand the greatest way the Commander-In-Chief could honor these men and women would be to stop playing politics with the war effort and give them the support that just might save their lives!
After all, this is the war he said we must win. This is the war even he and his liberal cohorts said they supported. But now the deaths of American service members seem of less import to this President than his inability to sway Fox News to follow the lead of their competitors in painting Obama as some sort of flawless Savior. He trots across the country and the globe with barely a whisper of their sacrifices.
Until he sees an opportunity to exploit their deaths for political gain, using their bodies as props to bolster his political image.
After two months of ignoring the struggles of our brave men and women in Afghanistan, after refusing to acknowledge or attempt to mediate the difficulties they face, our Dear Leader is using the bodies of those whose lives he sacrificed to bolster his political image.
This man has no shame!
by Dr. Bill Smith: Before proceeding it is only right to say that as a 22 year veteran, I am by nature a “hawk” and support all efforts to stop the enemies of America. However, I already saw one war – the Vietnam War – mired down by bureaucracy and lack of direction. [For those who prefer using the term “Vietnam Conflict,” tell it to the American families, friends of the veterans who served and lost 58,159 comrades in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia plus all those who died from war related issues after that “conflict.”]
Most career military have served under Presidents with whom we did not politically agree. Some Presidents were more competent than others. Most Presidents and Defense Secretaries who had not served in the military have made decision or failed to make decisions that resulted in the wasting of military resources and lives. Although not always understood by the general population, military leaders clearly understand that the military is both a tool in defending America including America’s economic interests and a tool of diplomacy. However, when a president lacks declared interest or focus during a time of war – or major deployments with people at risk, military casualties increase and troop morale suffers and leads to more losses.
The Times Online is reporting a story about “American troops in Afghanistan losing heart.” It is like “deja view” – a scene from the past when leadership and adequate direction was not shown by prior Commander-in-Chiefs and Secretaries of Defense. A few excerpts from the article:
American soldiers serving in Afghanistan are depressed and deeply disillusioned, according to the chaplains of two US battalions that have spent nine months on the front line in the war against the Taleban [sic, Taliban]. Many feel that they are risking their lives — and that colleagues have died — for a futile mission and an Afghan population that does nothing to help them, . . . “They feel they are risking their lives for progress that’s hard to discern,” . . . “They are tired, strained, confused and just want to get through.” The soldiers are, by nature and training, upbeat, driven by a strong sense of duty, and they do their jobs as best they can . . . admitted that their morale had slumped.
“We’re lost — that’s how I feel. I’m not exactly sure why we’re here,” . . . “I need a clear-cut purpose if I’m going to get hurt out here or if I’m going to die.” . . . Asked if the mission was worthwhile, . . . “If I knew exactly what the mission was, probably so, but I don’t.” The only soldiers who thought it was going well “work in an office, not on the ground”. In his opinion “the whole country is going to s***”.
The battalion’s 1,500 soldiers are nine months in to a year-long deployment that has proved extraordinarily tough. Their goal was to secure the mountainous Wardak province and then to win the people’s allegiance through development and good governance. They have, instead, found themselves locked in an increasingly vicious battle with the Taleban [sic, Taliban].
They have been targeted by at least 300 roadside bombs, about 180 of which have exploded. Nineteen men have been killed in action, with another committing suicide. About a hundred have been flown home with amputations, severe burns and other injuries likely to cause permanent disability, and many of those have not been replaced. More than two dozen mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs) have been knocked out of action.
Living conditions are good — abundant food, air-conditioned tents, hot water, free internet – but most of the men are on their second, third or fourth tours of Afghanistan and Iraq, with barely a year between each. . . . The men are frustrated by the lack of obvious purpose or progress. “The soldiers’ biggest question is: what can we do to make this war stop. Catch one person? Assault one objective? Soldiers want definite answers, other than to stop the Taleban [sic, Taliban], because that almost seems impossible. It’s hard to catch someone you can’t see,” . . .
“It’s a very frustrating mission,” . . . “The average soldier sees a friend blown up and his instinct is to retaliate or believe it’s for something [worthwhile], but it’s not like other wars where your buddy died but they took the hill. There’s no tangible reward for the sacrifice. It’s hard to say Wardak is better than when we got here.” “We want to believe in a cause but we don’t know what that cause is.” . . . The soldiers complain that rules of engagement designed to minimize civilian casualties mean that they fight with one arm tied behind their backs. . . “You get shot at but can do nothing about it. You have to see the person with the weapon. It’s not enough to know which house the shooting’s coming from.” . . .
The constant deployments are, meanwhile, playing havoc with the soldiers’ private lives. “They’re killing families,”. . . “Divorces are skyrocketing. PTSD is off the scale. There have been hundreds of injuries that send soldiers home and affect families for the rest of their lives.” The chaplains said that many soldiers had lost their desire to help Afghanistan. “All they want to do is make it home alive and go back to their wives and children and visit the families who have lost husbands and fathers over here. It comes down to just surviving,” . . . “If we make it back with ten toes and ten fingers the mission is successful,” . . . “You carry on for the guys to your left or right,” . . .
Lieutenant-Colonel Kimo Gallahue, 2-87’s commanding officer, denied that his men were and insisted they had achieved a great deal over the past nine months. A triathlete and former rugby player, he admitted pushing his men hard, but argued that taking the fight to the enemy was the best form of defense. . . . Above all, Colonel Gallahue argued that counter-insurgency — winning the allegiance of the indigenous population through security, development and good governance — was a long and laborious process that could not be completed in a year. “These 12 months have been, for me, laying the groundwork for future success,” he said. . . .
These reported comments depict more than just complaints by G.I.s. They are a clear signs of bigger issues both at the DOD, in the force structure and support of today’s military, and with the direction of the war as defined by the President of the United States. As for the field commander on the record comments about his belief in the mission, this was expected but it is not a measurement of success. However, while failing morale and expressions like “you carry on for the guys to your left or right” are both true and admirable, they are also a definite indicator of failed purpose and direction.
As heads up, the following comments are directed to what appears to be an often AWOL (absent without leave) Commander-in-Chief: Mr. Obama, you choose to run for President of the United States. And, the American people elected you to be president. Most Americans know that a “chief” responsibility of the president is being Commander-in-chief of the military. It is not being the commander of the American people. While you have “fiddle around” tripping off to other countries expressing your regrets about the United States or to another location to promote or sign a bill that could have been done efficiently right in the Oval office; while you wasted time trying to recruit the Olympics or taking time for another sports event or White House party; while you expend a disproportionate amount of your time on agendas which have or will send the United States further into debt and on efforts to reshape the social fabric of America, you are not focused on your primary responsibility of being Commander-in-Chief.
American military are dying or at risk because of your lack of leadership. Members of the military understand sacrifice and giving their lives for a greater cause. However, they do not understand dying without purpose or a clear objective. Often they die for their comrades but they do not wish to die for absentee leadership or an undefined mission.
Mr. President, above all else, (except possibly for those who feel they must engender themselves to you for their jobs and their agendas or who happen to hate America) people on both sides of domestic issues expect you to complete your primary duties as president. The United States of America has men and women in harms-way risking America’s chief treasure – American blood. For “Pete’s sake” – Wake-up! You are the Commander-in-Chief! It cannot be delegated; nor should it continue to be ignored! It is a lonely sacred responsibility. Mr. President, no matter how important you believe your other agendas to be, you must focus on your primary responsibility as Commander-in-Chief!
by Michael Barone at Townhall.com
“This is not a war of choice,” Barack Obama told the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Aug. 17. “This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9-11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al-Qaida would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defense of our people.”
But that was nearly seven weeks ago. Now, it appears that Obama is about to ignore the advice of Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, whom he installed as commander in Afghanistan in May, after relieving his predecessor ahead of schedule. McChrystal, who came up as a Special Forces officer, is an expert in counterinsurgency. Not surprisingly, in his Aug. 30 report to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, he recommended a course that seems certain to require a substantial number of additional troops.
During the first three weeks of September, Obama held one meeting on the “war of necessity.” Then, on Sept. 20, Obama appeared on five talk shows to push his health plan. The next day, Bob Woodward published a story in The Washington Post based on a copy of McChrystal’s report, which the newspaper later posted in redacted form. Woodward made it clear that McChrystal would request more troops. When questioners pressed him about the war, he said he was rethinking his Afghanistan strategy.
The rethinking looks a lot like a rejection of his general’s recommendations. McChrystal said last week that he had spoken to Obama exactly once since he was appointed. But many people, notably Vice President Biden, seemed to be speaking against his recommendation in a three-hour meeting Obama held with advisers on Thursday, Oct. 1.
by Pat Buchanan at Townhall.com
While America was consumed this summer with quarrels over town-hall radicals, “death panels,” the “public option” and racism’s role in the plunging polls of Barack, what happens to health care is not going to change the history of the world.
What happens in Afghanistan might.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal has done his duty. He has bluntly told his commander in chief what he must have in added combat troops and warned that if he does not get them, America faces “mission failure.”
Translation: a Taliban victory and U.S. defeat, as in Saigon 1975.
Not only does President Obama face the most critical decision of his young presidency, this country is facing a moment of truth. Obama, now the Decider, has four options.
There is the Biden option of drawing down troops, drawing away from Hamid Karzai, and focusing McChrystal’s men on what they do best — running down and killing al-Qaida, be they in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
Second is the option of indecision — holding off on more troops until the 68,000 already committed have arrived by December, and seeing how McChrystal does with them until spring.
The third option is to give McChrystal some but not all the tens of thousands he says he needs.
Final option: Give Gen. McChrystal the blank check George W. Bush gave Gen. David Petraeus, with the surge of 2007 in Iraq, which radically reduced the violence and set the stage for U.S. withdrawal beginning in 2010.
This is the first of what I intend to be a weekly series.
It’s just impossible to write an original post on everything that needs covering, so each weekend I’ll post an excerpt from other blogs I follow of articles on issues that I simply couldn’t find the time to cover that week.
From All American Blogger
Haste Makes Waste: Feds Send Millions in Stimulus Checks to Dead People
The government is saying the error happened because they had to get things done in a hurry. Because of the perceived time pressure, the have sent millions of dollars in stimulus money to people like “Romolo Romonini, who died in Italy 34 years ago.”
From ARRA News Service
Obama Warns America’s Debt Load is Unustainable
Can you believe it? After creating the largest spending program and largest deficit in American history, President Obama warns us about something every Tea Party American knows: that the American Debt Load is unsustainable. Thanks for putting us in this position Mr. Obama!…
From The Conservative Pup
The Right Stuff….
I’m so proud of Carrie Prejean. When asked her opinion about a current divisive political issue during the Miss USA pageant, she took the more difficult path of honesty. Some might have chosen the easier, more traveled path of evasiveness or outright dishonesty, but she chose the “road less traveled.” She gave her opinion in an almost apologetic way, stating clearly that she didn’t wish to offend anyone.
From The Foundry
New York Times Reports Half The Story in Afghanistan
On today’s front page, the New York Times goes to every effort to recreate the narrative of Mai-Lai in Vietnam, only this time in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, they do so with only half the story. This much we think we know: One night last week, American forces in the middle of a drawn out battle with insurgent Taliban forces, launched an aerial attack on enemy targets. It appears many civilians were killed during the battle.
From Michelle Malkin
Pelosi, the CIA, and the Dems’ dangerous blame game
We had dueling press conferences this morning with Nancy Pelosi accusing the Bush CIA of lying to her about waterboarding and House GOP leader John Boehner defending the integrity of the briefers.
Pelosi had a particularly frozen look on her face throughout her presser as she repeated the “Bush lied about Iraq” mantra to justify her own inaction: