February 28, 2008

McCain versus Obama.

WaPo looks at the current McCain-Obama fighting:
... McCain seized on a comment by Obama that he would reserve the right to return to Iraq after withdrawing troops "if al-Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq."

"I have some news," McCain told voters at a rally here Wednesday morning. "Al-Qaeda is in Iraq. Al-Qaeda is called 'al-Qaeda in Iraq.' My friends, if we left, they wouldn't be establishing a base. . . . they would be taking a country. I will not allow that to happen, my friends. I will not surrender."...

Speaking to 7,000 voters at Ohio State University on Wednesday, Obama answered McCain's mocking tone with his own.

"McCain thought that he could make a clever point by saying, 'Well let me give you some news, Barack, al-Qaeda is in Iraq.' Like I wasn't reading the papers, like I didn't know what was going on. I said, 'Well, first of all, I do know that al-Qaeda is in Iraq; that's why I've said we should continue to strike al-Qaeda targets.

"I have some news for John McCain, and that is that there was no such thing as al-Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq." The crowd roared its approval. "I've got some news for John McCain. He took us into a war along with George Bush that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged. They took their eye off the people who were responsible for 9/11, and that would be al-Qaeda in Afghanistan that is stronger now than at any time since 2001.

"So John McCain may like to say he wants to follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell, but so far all he's done is follow George Bush into a misguided war in Iraq that's cost us thousands of lives and billions of dollars."
Now, speculate about who will do better in a face-to-face debate in the fall.

102 comments:

George said...

Remind me...which candidate has 27 years experience as a U.S. Navy officer?...which one includes in his "20 years of experience" the hours he spend taking notes in graduate school? Talk is cheap.

tom said...

Obama might prove to be the better debater. But in this race, that may not mean much.

I think people are less impressed with debating skills in a Presidential candidate then they were years ago.

Tim said...

"Now, speculate about who will do better in a face-to-face debate in the fall."

If Americans have an appetite for demagoguery, Obama wins.

TROBlog said...

Obama gives a good sermon, err, I mean speech, but his debate performances to date have only looked good because Hillary has looked so bad by comparison.

McCain should win easily.

Bob said...

Obama's strategy in debate should be to get McCain to blow his cool and lash out; the more that people are reminded of McCain as a hothead with his finger on the button (think Captain Queeg), the better for Obama.

He's already had success with this strategy against Hillary, after all, although his Christ-like turn the other cheek routine may eventually be seen as a tactic, at which point it loses its power.

AJ Lynch said...

Obama has a little of that elitist "if I said it must be true" scripting to his speeches.
That will lose its effect over time.

Plus he says "as if I had not read the papers"? is that where Obama gets his info? If so, he is less informed than we are. And what the heck is it with his accent? It sure ain't from Hawaii or Chicago or Kansas- it is very annoying to me; it sounds like he is acting.

TROBlog said...

Oh, and by the way, Al Qaeda was in Iraq before we invaded.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/
Content/Public/
Articles/000/000/003/033jgqyi.
asp

The war just drew more of them in to kill.

rhhardin said...

Al Qaeda is in Iraq because that's where the threat to al Qaeda is.

Do you think they're there on vacation?

Not that I write McCain's speeches.

madawaskan said...

The American people get it right most of the time.

They might see that Obama wants to preserve his need to be right by some state of how things were in the past.

But you know Americans have an inane common sense and they'll see him as trying to profiteer off of that.

They might be more concerned with what he will do in the given current situations.

Obama can only go so far with the nananana I was right you were wrong and I should get big brownie points for the fact that -

Al Qaeda is fighing us in Iraq.

Wasn't that the goal of the Bush administration to fight and kill Al Qaeda over there-

instead of Al Qaeda killing themselves over here?

former law student said...

al-Qaeda: now bigger, more powerful, and more numerous than ever before!

Too many jims said...

This exchange tells us very little about how McCain would fare in a face to face. He and his staff had an opportunity to review the debate, pick apart missteps and respond.

Similarly, the Obama response to McCain's comments tells us very little about how Obama would do in a face to face because he and his staff had a chance to formulate the response.

If anything the fact that Obama left the opening in the first place by speaking less precisely than (I suspect) he would like, suggests that he may leave similar openings in future debates. In real time, would McCain catch that opening and exploit it? Would Obama be able to double back over it and tie McCain back to Bush?

George said...

Aren't Obama's comments an acknowledgment that he will escalate in Afghanistan? And what do his peace-oriented supporters think of that?

"Inside Afghanistan, the tactical situation is still one where NATO can win every clash. But you see an expanding Taliban influence on the ground where the Taliban dominate or have a major political or economic impact. The situation in the south is extremely troublesome. There have simply not been enough forces present in the south to really win and hold, to provide for any type of development or governance except for some limited or select areas.

"If you look at Afghanistan, NATO’s under-strength force is further weakened by having four key countries, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, refusing to send troops into harm’s way. There is almost no real coordination to the aid effort; it is far too small in terms of supporting governments. The efforts to build up local and provincial governments have had very, very mixed impact and are far more limited even though they began significantly earlier than in the case of Iraq."

-- Anthony Cordesman, Feb. '08

We have about 32,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, about 160,000 in Iraq. Will the ones Obama pull from Iraq head east?

madawaskan said...

Oh bullshit fls-

Al Qaeda more disorganized and headless than before.

ricpic said...

Given most Americans' weariness with the Iraq War McCain will be at a distinct disadvantage debating the issue with Obama.

Henry said...

Does Obama have some unique definition for the word "base"? I mean, like, does he read the papers? Does he know what's going on?

Obama is welcome to differentiate himself from McCain on his stance before the Iraq war, but if he's going to talk about striking al-Qaeda in Iraq, he going to have answer the freaking question: how does propose to do that?

How bad does a red herring have to stink for its owner to stink?

madawaskan said...

george-

Than one could argue Hillary's argument-

if Obama was so concerned with Afghanistan -if that is his top priority-than why has the subcommittee that Obama chairs that has the responsibility to oversee Afghanistan-why has Obama not called one meeting to review Afghanistan?

TROBlog said...

al-Qaeda: now bigger, more powerful, and more numerous than ever before!

You're joking, right? Please cite me even one legitimate estimate that shows they are more powerful and more numerous than ever. They "soldiers" have been decimated in numbers, their leaders have been killed, and their replacement leaders killed, and then the replacement leaders for those leaders have been killed so many times they are reaching down to the janitorial staff.

Given most Americans' weariness with the Iraq War McCain will be at a distinct disadvantage debating the issue with Obama.

You are correct that most Americans are weary of the Iraq war, but the way to end a war is to win it and you win it with a leader who knows what he is doing. Obama isn't that man and once he has said, "war bad, peace good" that will be the end of his input in any debate. When it comes to specifics on the war, and pretty much everything else, McCain will beat him.

Richard said...

Substance will not matter the debates. McCain is running against a hot fad. It's like running against the iPod or the hula-hoop when they were big too. So Obama will "win" all the debates.

Rich B said...

Obama has confidence in his ability to talk his way out of any jam caused by previously ill-considered comments. I suspect that this will become less effective as the campaign wears on. He actually makes Slick Willie look like an amateur.

TROBlog said...

Substance will not matter the debates.

You may be right, but I don't think so. Surely style is a big factor and Obama has tons of it, but unless McCain really has a melt-down during a debate I think his own style - which is not insubstantial - accompanied with facts and substance, will beat Obama's pure fluff.

At least I hope so.

ricpic said...

TROBlog,

Absolutely agree that McCain will make substantive points against Obama's "I'll end it," but so what? People want what they want and right now they want to get out. Ergo: Obama wins on this issue

hdhouse said...

TROBlog...

remind me again what observations Obama made that weren't true?...and please don't pull out the weeklystandard.com stuff.

This is a first rate blog area. Don't bring weak shit on here.

Paddy O. said...

McCain is already beginning to tie Obama into a bit of a rhetorical knot. Obama gets the cheers and the applause but these kinds of responses will increasingly make his responses wishy-washy as he tries to both be a hawk who will bomb every enemy and a dove who will bring home the troops pronto.

McCain can keep consistent, stating the same message he has been saying while pushing Obama into increasing contradictory positions that will get played on commercials for months.

It's also pretty apparent that Obama is trying to recover from a real gaffe by saying, "look at George Bush!" But McCain can quite easily distance himself from Bush, because of his past statements on the war and going back to the 2000 primary. Will people really think McCain is just a Bush stooge?

Roger said...

I saw my very first debate Tuesday nite and was impressed by Obama's cool approach. He's a good debater. That said, I wonder if the public will not be dog tired of debates by the time the Fall gets here. And even if the dems have killed debates by overexposure, I am not convinced that debates are all that important for how a person votes.

Zeb Quinn said...

Now, speculate about who will do better in a face-to-face debate in the fall.

You're assuming that the back and forth ends there. Presumably McCain would have a further rejoinding quip about Obama's absurd claim that violence and terrorism in the region started with the US taking out of Saddam.

Obama clearly has oratory has talents and skills, which he puts to good use. But McCain knows how to get his licks in, and he does.

MadisonMan said...

I agree with too many jims @ 12:30. This exchange says nothing about future debate performance. It's more like a search for sound bites on the part of McCain and Obama reacting to it.

Goatwhacker said...

Obama deftly shifts the focus from what to do now with Iraq, instead saying we shouldn't be there in the first place. He may have a point but the US has to deal with the situation as it is, not as we wish it was.

Al Qaeda is in Iraq, so Obama saying he would come back if they form a base is specious. Obama says things so well I wonder if people actually listen to the content of what he's saying.

Kirby Olson said...

Obama floats like a butterfly, but McCain stings like a bee.

madawaskan said...

Roger-

Yep.

The other thing is-Obama was doing this thing during the debates that was reminding me of this uptight relative that would throw their nose in the air and kinda hold their breath.

Then they would gasp out this prayer-like they were a martyr for even being addressed by you.

Gawd it was silver spoon priggy. It was like how dare you challenge me.

Obama was doing that in most of the debates except I think they coached him off of it in the last one.

The replacemnt technique he used was to start shooting imploring looks to Brian Williams that seemed to say-

"Can you believe this bitch" -brother give me a chance to get in here.

What a wimp: he needs the NBC men to help him handle the filibustering Hillary.

You know the same guy that gave a record long acceptance speech.

TROBlog said...

This is a first rate blog area. Don't bring weak shit on here.

I'm sure the good Professor appreciates your trying to maintain high standards, but I will stick with my sources, thank you very much. If you want to pay for my Internet then we can discuss your having some editorial control. It's about $40 a month and I take Paypal.

AJ Lynch said...

Hdhouse:

Obama says his best asset is his judgement. He credits that for his opposition to the Iraq War.

But Obama blames his own poor judgment for his entanglement with Tony Rezko when Obama and his wife bought their mansion with the aid of Rezko's wife. So which is it? Good or poor judgment.

That my friend is a big unanswered question.

radar said...

Obama and the Democrats like to repeat the mantra that the Iraq war was a mistake. Even if you accept that it was a mistake, that was five years ago. The question is not what should have been done then, but what should be done now. However uncomfortable you might feel about the current situation, it isn't particularly difficult to imagine ways that it could become much, much worse.

Making today's strategic decisions by pretending that the calendar hasn't advanced five years is irrational.

Roger said...

Paddo: good points in your post. Trying to run against Bush/Cheney Rove might get the democratic base fired up, but McCain already has the maverick cache (thanks media for helping him out on that one) and has staked out a lot of "not Bush" positions. Running against Bush is a losing strategy given McCain's reputation. In addition, Obama is locking himself into some positions during his debates with Hillary that are going to make it difficult to tack back to center.

Trevor Jackson said...

Who knows what Iraq is going to look like on 1/20/09? All the plans and proposals given now may not make any difference if, say, Sadr calls off the cease fire or if the Iraqi government successfully figures out how to avoid total collapse.

What's more important to me now is to look at the mentality and the stated principles behind previous decisions and what his or her vision is for foreign policy. It seems the only valuable way to judge how a particular candidate is going to respond to Iraq or any other eventual crisis that comes up.

What's even more important than that is being honest about their positions. Has Obama really said "war bad" or did he say "dumb war bad"? Did McCain really say "100 years of war" or did he say "troop presence for 100 years"?

And AJ Lynch, that Rezko example is a classic logical fallacy. Well done.

TROBlog said...

Turning away from the war for a moment, let's look to Obama's understanding, or lack thereof, of the role of judges in constitutional law:

We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges. ~ Barack Obama

http://www.stephenbainbridge.com/punditry/comments/obama_judicial_selection_and_the_rule_of_law/

As the post goes on to say, this is simply class-warfare and I hope the majority of Americans won't fall for it no matter how well the guy debates.

Rich B said...

Obama said (Feb 21 debate):

"You know, I’ve heard from an Army captain who was the head of a rifle platoon — supposed to have 39 men in a rifle platoon. Ended up being sent to Afghanistan with 24 because 15 of those soldiers had been sent to Iraq. And as a consequence, they didn’t have enough ammunition, they didn’t have enough humvees. They were actually capturing Taliban weapons, because it was easier to get Taliban weapons than it was for them to get properly equipped by our current commander in chief."

Per ABC news-

"THE FACTS:

The Obama campaign offered no details to support the captain's story, making it impossible to verify. A spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about who the captain was and when and how the candidate learned about the allegation.

ABC News said it talked to the unidentified captain, whose account of shortages in Afghanistan was for the most part accurately summarized by Obama, although not verified.

The captain said, however, that the unit did not go after the Taliban for the purpose of getting their weapons, but sometimes used those weapons when some were captured.

The Pentagon has acknowledged forces are stretched, but spokesman Bryan Whitman said that without knowing more, he could not comment on the veracity of Obama's claim, except to say: "I find that account pretty hard to imagine."

Whitman contended "all of our units and service members that go into harm's way are properly trained, equipped and with the leadership to be successful for the mission that they've been given."

Obama said the platoon was supposed to have 39 soldiers. A platoon does not have to consist of 39, but can have between 16 to 40 soldiers, according to standard Army unit organization. It is also commanded by a lieutenant and not a captain.

According to the ABC report, the captain was a lieutenant when he took command of the rifle platoon."

___
Per Jake Tapper-

"The Army captain, a West Point graduate, did a tour in a hot area of eastern Afghanistan from the Summer of 2003 through Spring 2004".

Maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention, but I got the impression that Obama was referring to a recent event. He didn't give a date. But this apparently goes back 3-4 years, prior to his election to the Senate. Maybe he will start critiqing policy in 2005 next.

Cedarford said...

Obama - "I have some news for John McCain, and that is that there was no such thing as al-Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq."

Obama loves making that argument to his more Leftist supporters and they lap it up, but such a stance is riddled with bad thinking by Obama...surprising because he has such superior judgement and courage that he boldly voted as ordered by Dem higher-ups against the War. His profile in courage set in a District full of upscale Chicago Lefties that was 4 to 1 against going into Iraq.

1. Obama says they only reason AQ went there and attacked us and killed Americans was because of our "failed policies". They weren't there before, Obama sagely reminds us.
And how is that exactly different than a global terror force deciding to travel to America, where they weren't present before, and attack and kill Americans because of our policies? Were the policies we had on 9/11 all "failed policies" that justly inflamed Jihadis and could have been avoided as easily as Obama nodding his head when Lefty money bagger Jan Schakowsky told him to vote "no" in a meaningless symbolical resolution he couldn't weasel out of by voting "present"??

2. Obama assumes that AQ mobilized all over the world to go to Iraq and slug it out with US Armed Forces and get slaughtered 4 to 1 in combat - simply because it was something they were forced to do by the evil Bush-Hitler.

If not for Iraq, Americans would not have died, Obama appears to reason, because all the Jihadis would have been peacefully sitting around for 5 years with their thumbs up their asses somewhere in Camel Land.
He has never understood the military that well, amiable soul that he is, or why you seek to lure the enemy to a battlefield. To pin them down by fire, force them to concentrate forces for elimination on a killing field of our choosing that is a whole lot better than similar thousands of eager Jihadis running around Europe or America.
A battlefield that should have been well set up in 2003 when AQ declared it was to be their "Central Front", where they should have been chewed up by Americans, coalition, and native Shiites and Sunnis but for the catastrophically stupid Feith, Rumsfeld, and Bremer decisions.

3. Obama maintains a child-like faith in the inability of the enemy to travel unless they are provoked to journey to a new battlefield and then any US deaths are held by Obama to be the fault of people like the Bush-Hitler or other "provokers".
Thus, the Ardennes in Belgium were a peaceful place with few German troops during the 1st 6 years of Nazi Occupation. It was only invading US forces that forced Germany to move troops there and kill Americans. If we hadn't provoked them....perhaps Obama reasons....

4. Obama continues that child-like faith in believing that radical Islam follows a Hollywood script. There is no real movement, just misled souls following a single "Mr Evil" that orchestrates it all with his inner circle at Spectre..or such...And if only we go after the "real threat" the dozen or so senior AQ operatives in a secret cave in Pakistan that James Bond types can eliminate, the whole organization will collapse like a pile of cards and then Bond gets to fuck the girl at the end.

It must work that way. How else to explain Obama smugly asserting that the real threat is not the thousands of armed, crazed radical Islamic Jihadis getting riddled by Marine and Sunni Arab bullets - but a dozen survivors of only one of 60 Islamic terror groups, who are now in hiding?

5. Obama lacks the ability to recognize changing circumstances and realities in war and alter his positions, an executive management flaw he shares with Bush and Rumsfeld..doggedly sticking to old decisions. In his case, sticking to the idea that we have been defeated, we failed and must retreat, the Surge failed, and the thousands of foreign terrorists our grunts and Marines have whacked or captured are not the threat of a dozen "real terrorists" holed up in Pakistan which Obama wishes to open up a new war on so he can play hide 'n seek and terrorist whack a mole.

He's like Rumsfeld refusing to acknowledge the reality on the ground, still talking about a "last throes" insurgency in early 2006. Obama refuses to acknowledge the change - AQ in Iraq is being slaughtered by all other sides, the US has gotten intelligence windfalls on AQ in the process of fighting them in Iraq that exceeds our Afghanistan gains, the Surge is working, and AQ is now a netcentric franchiser of radical Islamic terror and 4GW (4th Generation warfare), no longer hierarchally organized - so his James Bond dreams of getting the
"Big Guys" of the dozen left and so ending global Islamic terror amounts to a pipe dream.

McCain isn't the brightest bulb, but he never smoked Obama's special Maui Wowie or crack rocks.

madawaskan said...

Trevor-

OK but you know what?

Most of us identify with-we thought it was a good idea at the time.

Bush was getting 80%+ approval ratings.

So Obama pointing out his unique above the crowd genius just adds to his worship me platform.

In short- he's calling everybody stupid and himself special because at one time he thought it was a bad idea.

Irregardless of the fact that somehow the Bush administration should be given any collateral credit-

I mean shit who's fault is it anyways-that we haven't been bombed CONUS lately?

I blame George Bush.

EnigmatiCore said...

Is Obama's point that he thinks we should leave so that we can attack them again anew?

I guess this is why I don't believe he believes what he is saying regarding pulling out of Iraq. I believe it is a pose.

If he really does want to leave Iraq knowing Al Qaeda is there, but thinks we should attack Al Qaeda if they are forming a base there, then he must think that us leaving will somehow make them NOT try to establish a base there and that they don't already have one. Or he thinks we would have to turn right back around and go in.

So I think it is pretty clear that he doesn't believe part of what he is saying. My bet is it is the leaving part. It would be very easy to imagine any Democrat being elected getting into office and saying "seeing the intelligence I now have access to, I believe we need to maintain our presence."

AJ Lynch said...

Trevor said:

"That is a Classic logical fallacy?"

How so?

madawaskan said...

Trevor-

Oh ya and another thing-you know when I'm sitting around the set with my homies watching the debate we always scream out-

Logical Fallacy!

Most of America does-it's true.

mark said...

Obama: I said, 'Well, first of all, I do know that al-Qaeda is in Iraq; that's why I've said we should continue to strike al-Qaeda targets.

It seems the One has some magical powers he can use to strike Al-Quaeda in Iraq, while pulling all the troops out.

The current counter-insurgency (COIN) methods are succeeding in getting the itelligence to identify them and strike them, precisely because we have the troops to provide the coverage and build local relationships. Cruising UAV remotely operated out of US or a remote strike force sitting in Kuwait will not in themselves be sufficient to defeat AQI, Obama's hope to the contrary notwithstanding. He should try reading some of the leading COIN strategists.

Yachira said...

"Now, speculate about who will do better in a face-to-face debate in the fall."

McCain will wipe the floor with that little puke.

Sloanasaurus said...

Obama claims that Al Qaeda is stronger than ever yet, how come we haven't been attacked since 9/11? If Obama claims its just luck how come he is voting to reduce our ability to fight terrorists by voting against the FISA law. That doesn't make sense.

Obama claims we are less safe because of Iraq. He needs to follow up as to why Saddam with $100 per barrel oil would not be more dangerous to the world than Iraq as it is today.

Roger said...

I see some specific problems Obama is going to have: (1) squaring his unwillingness to accept public financing of his campaign (to be negotiated with McC later I think). (2) His approach to NAFTA
(3) drivers licenses for undocumented people
(4) Squaring his Iraq/AQ positions with troop withdrawals; (5) his assertion that the surge hasnt worked. And, of course, he's going to have to come out in support of raising taxes "on the rich" whoever they are. Raising taxes in the face of an economic downturn is neither good supply side nor Keynesian economic policy. Obama's big problem will be to move back to the center (which is going to have to be the right of Hillary's positions) and retain his base. Its a whole different dynamic after the primaries and a much bigger and more centrist electorate. That and 8 more months of unfolding events.

Hoosier Daddy said...

It seems the One has some magical powers he can use to strike Al-Quaeda in Iraq, while pulling all the troops out.

Of course, they're called cruise missles. They work real well in eliminating terrorists threats, tents and Tylenol factories.

Just ask Bill Clinton

Cedarford said...

ajlynch - But Obama blames his own poor judgment for his entanglement with Tony Rezko when Obama and his wife bought their mansion with the aid of Rezko's wife. So which is it? Good or poor judgment.

The tale of Obama's house is becoming more interesting. Rezko, a Syrian, is in criminal court and is showing he was broke when he loaned Obama the money for his house deal. The money appears to come from a longtime associate of Saddam Hussein, Nadhmi Auchi, who had a falling out with Saddam in the 90s and left the Ba'athist Party after serving as Deputy Oil Minister and weapons procurer in the 80s.
Auchi had his hands in all sorts of major business deals and has donated to politicians in several countries, including America. He has been barred from the US as an undesirable alien after convictions for bank fraud and collapsed firm balance sheets in France. He is now the 18th richest person in the UK, worth 3 billion dollars.

Nadhmi is a major investor in Rezkos businesses and he periodically "loans" Rezko money than in turn appears to go into politician donations and items like financing Obama's house. Rezko's current debt to the Iraqi, according to his books, is 27 million, to purportedly be forgiven for his consideration in future Rezko "deals".

Nadhmi Auchi also appears to have his hand in using US politicians and using his ties with the Iraq exile community here and in the UK to get US contracts in Iraq.

The money for Obama's house appears to have come from an Iraqi Muslim who was once close to Saddam Hussein and who cannot enter the US as an "undesirable alien".

Original Mike said...

EnigmatiCore said: Is Obama's point that he thinks we should leave so that we can attack them again anew?

It's even worse than you suggest. How do you think the Iraqi government is going to feel when we strike inside their territory after we've pulled out against their wishes? My guess is they'll be less than thrilled. Obama's "plan" is idiotic.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Raising taxes in the face of an economic downturn is neither good supply side nor Keynesian economic policy.

Roger, as Doyle will point out soon, supply side economics is a myth and the only way to economic Nirvana is higher taxes.

Although I am sure if asked about Keynesian economic policy, Obama would wonder why you're bringing Kenya into the discussion.

paul a'barge said...

Remind me why people voted for Richard Nixon?

Obama can be beat. He may look good in several debates, but he can still be beat in the general election.

Pal2Pal said...

Well unless Obama can get himself up to speed about al-Qaeda and Iraq and get the facts and not leftist talking points, then McCain will make him look like a fool like he did yesterday. I've got news for Barack Hussein Obama, al-Qaeda has been in Iraq long before we got there or did we all just imagine terrorists like Zarqawi and his whole operation? BTW, how many trips to Iraq has Obama been on? When was the last one? Does he get briefed at all? Has he taken the time to read any of the captured and translated documents or taken a look at the al-Qaeda in Iraq maps we've captured?

Hoosier Daddy said...

This is why Obama simply doesn't have the intellectual maturity to be CinC. Yes we all know the war was a mistake, yes we all know Bush fubared it up; that's rather old news. What he either won't or is unable to say is how will withdrawing US forces improve the situation? Simply bringing them home won't defuse AQ nor quell sectarian divisions within Iraq.

What Obama doesn't realize is that if he brings everyone home in 16 months we'll all get to watch Iraq completely unfold over the next 44 months of his presidency and that will be his legacy, not Bush's. More than likely, Bush will leave office with an struggling yet vastly improved Iraq while Obama sets himself up to undo it all.

Yes, thats a winning argument just to make the dumbass college kids swoon. He'd be better off blowing his nose some more.

Roger said...

Hoosier daddy: re Supply Side vs Keynesian approaches: thats why I put both of those up there--raising taxes during an economic slowdown doesnt make much sense no matter whose underlying theory you use.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Obama's "plan" is idiotic."

That's one reason I do not believe it is an actual plan.

It is a campaign talking point, and nothing more.

I don't take it all that seriously.

MadisonMan said...

More than likely, Bush will leave office with an struggling yet vastly improved Iraq ...

I don't know how likely that is. How much progress is being made politically in Iraq to form a government? I am ambivalent about spending billions more to keep troops in Iraq simply because the Iraqis can't get their act together and form a government. Our presence there does not help that venture, and in fact I think the security that our presence brings hinders things by not forcing the Iraqis to work together to find a workable solution. Why should they?

Synova said...

I think that the standards demanded of the Iraqi government are outrageous.

Frankly.

Somehow their government isn't supposed to look like any other long term established democratic government in the world. Oh, no. Somehow, they're supposed to be efficient, not have any infighting, and are supposed to carry on with extreme efficiency.

It's outrageous.

George said...

Iraq is going to be old news in a few years...or sooner.

Saudi Arabia...Its king is 84...unemployment rate? Unknown, but believed to be 20-30 percent among Saudi men.

Egypt...population has doubled from 40 to 80 million in the past 30 years...v. high percentage of men under 25...high unemployment...high poverty...Mubarak is 80ish

Pakistan...new "leaders" (all corrupt) want to reduce military involvement in rebel areas

Iran...etc.

AJ Lynch said...

Cford:

I heard some of what you shared this morning. But fair is fair :) so let's be precise:

- the shady money went to the "extra yard" next to the house and not (directly anyway) to the Obama's home price.

chickenlittle said...

Thanks for the posts cedarford- I think I'll start reading Althouse comments again!

AJ Lynch said...

Madison Man:

As Reagan might have said to you:

"There you go again, always moving the goalposts".

John Stodder said...

I am ambivalent about spending billions more to keep troops in Iraq simply because the Iraqis can't get their act together and form a government. Our presence there does not help that venture, and in fact I think the security that our presence brings hinders things by not forcing the Iraqis to work together to find a workable solution. Why should they?

Not to pick on Madison Man, not at all, but this comment illustrates why the Iraq debate nowadays strikes me as so dangerously useless and misguided. Everyone is starting from a different factual premise about the war, and then argues "logically" from their own fact-base, and concluding that those who disagree with us can't see reason.

The first thing any of us should do when thinking about Iraq is to question our own premises. What makes someone think, for example, that "our presence does not help" formation of a more cohesive government? And is our current military effort just a big "mitzvah" for the Iraqis b/c they can't get a good government together, or doesn't it perhaps address some larger strategic priorities of our own?

Let's pretend we pull out as a form of protest against the Iraqis' failure to assemble a government we think is solid. Who are we punishing? Well certainly, in the short run, the Iraqis I guess. As the AQ forces resume their positions of control and start beheading their foes, I guess we're supposed to hope that the last thoughts of decapitation victims will be "Dang! I should've worked harder on that national government thing." That might be satisfying to some, I suppose. "Hey, you were warned!"

But then, once those lazy, squabbling Iraqis are all dead, doesn't the problem come back to us in the form of a terrorist regime controlling a large, wealthy country with substantial military resources and a market-making quantity of oil under all that sand and blood?

Maybe we're not really there only because the Iraqis "can't get their act together."

As for Obama v. McCain, Obama is a great candidate but a lousy debater. On this issue, he's operating under some extremely dubious premises, most especially the notion at it's the US' "fault" that AQ is in Iraq. If we had never invaded, at some point the Hussein regime would probably have faltered. Into that vacuum, AQ, already in Iraq, would have flooded in. Maybe that happened sooner because of the US invasion. But at least we were in a position to do something about it. Plus, AQ is like termites. They go where the rot is. If Hussein's fascist regime had been too restrictive for them to operate in, they would be somewhere else. I think history could show that our invasion, blunders and all, created a more favorable battle situation against an enemy we were bound to face sometime than might otherwise have pertained.

Toby said...

Madison Man,

Charles Krauthammer had an article a few days ago on political progress in Iraq. An excerpt:

Democrats demand nothing less than federal-level reconciliation, and it has to be expressed in actual legislation.

...last week, indeed on the day Cordesman published his report, it happened. Mirabile dictu, the Iraqi parliament approved three very significant pieces of legislation.

First, a provincial powers law that turns Iraq into arguably the most federal state in the entire Arab world. The provinces get not only power but also elections by Oct. 1. U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker has long been calling this the most crucial step to political stability. It will allow, for example, the pro-American Anbar sheiks to become the legitimate rulers of their province, exercise regional autonomy and forge official relations with the Shiite-dominated central government.

Second, parliament passed a partial amnesty for prisoners, 80 percent of whom are Sunni. Finally, it approved a $48 billion national budget that allocates government revenue -- about 85 percent of which is from oil -- to the provinces. Kurdistan, for example, gets one-sixth.

What will the Democrats say now? They will complain that there is still no oil distribution law. True. But oil revenue is being distributed to the provinces in the national budget. The fact that parliament could not agree on a permanent formula for the future simply means that it will be allocating oil revenue year by year as part of the budget process. Is that a reason to abandon Iraq to al-Qaeda and Iran?

MadisonMan said...

AJ Lynch: The world is not a static place. Why shouldn't the goal posts move? Are you thinking we're in Iraq to get rid of Saddam? If not have you moved the goal posts?

Your snarky little comment does little to address my point. If by providing stability our presence in Iraq is hindering the ability of the Iraqis to form a working government, what can be done to prod them to move? What incentive do the Iraqis have now to self-govern? Because we tell them to?

MadisonMan said...

John Stodder, just to be clear, I don't think withdrawal is an ideal situation. (I also don't think Obama -- or any President -- could engineer such a feat). Nor is it clear to me that the status quo is helpful in the long term (Are you listening John McCain?) -- which is why I'm ambivalent.

I'm glad my nephew is done with his tours of duty (3) in Iraq, however.

toby, thank you for your post.

Sloanasaurus said...

What incentive do the Iraqis have now to self-govern? Because we tell them to?

Are you kidding me? Are you actually a human writing this or some sort of automated life form.

Roger said...

I understand the point that Madison Man and many other folks make re Iraq: (my shorthand version) our presence underwrites their failure to act.

The thing that bothers me about that premise is that it appears to assume somehow the Iraqis enjoy having terrorists in their midst and would trade significant elements of national sovereignty to be blown up in large numbers by terrorists. If that is the Iraqi mindset then we really ought to get out of there. It took the colonies 10 years to get a functioning government together. The iraqis are in fact moving forward, IMO. Whatever the case, Iraq does appear to be falling off the national radar screen as an issue.

AJ Lynch said...

Madison:

We are in Iraq because the president believed there was a strong possibility Iraq had WMD and would provide to AQ.

That is it pal, and now we will not leave until there is some reasonable level of law and order or a Dem is elected president whichever comes first!

Is that too complex for you to grasp ? Yet, it is liberals like you who regularly move the goalposts with your quibbling little allegedly nuanced bullshit.

Here is a suggestion for you smart guy, look up nuance in the dictionary and tell me if one has made a material difference on your life.

Maggie45 said...

What Synova said!!!!!!!!!

MadisonMan said...

Whatever the case, Iraq does appear to be falling off the national radar screen as an issue.

I agree with this, and I think it's a good thing for the country. (This county, not Iraq, just to be clear).

Too many jims said...

Charles Krauthammer asked . . .
What will the Democrats say now?


I am not a democrat (though I might be one next Tuesday) but any observer of the news might point out that the most important of the three pieces of legislation was vetoed.

Original Mike said...

I'm not persuaded by "our presence gives the Iraqis the luxury of not solving their differences" argument. I think it more likely that the relative stability afforded by our presence helps, rather than hurts, reconciliation. I, of course, am not smart enough to know this for sure, but common sense tells me that security is good, not bad, for reconciliation.

madawaskan said...

If the media let's you see the real side of the Democratic Convention-you are going to be real embarrassed about what your party's defintion and standard of organization looks like.

Freder Frederson said...

Rezko, a Syrian, is in criminal court and is showing he was broke when he loaned Obama the money for his house deal.

Rezko is of course an American, although he was born in Syria. He is also a Christian, not a Muslim as Cedarford implies.

The rest of the story--well who knows where Cedarford gets this crap. He apparently doesn't know how to link to any of the sources of his racist rants. I imagine what doesn't come from David Duke or Stormfront comes special delivery from the monkeys flying out of his butt.

Freder Frederson said...

but common sense tells me that security is good, not bad, for reconciliation.

Then why haven't they achieved it? That, after all, was the entire point of the exercise.

Remember the president said there were going to be consequences if the Iraqis didn't achieve the benchmarks he set for them. Apparently, those "consequences" are almost eternal presence of American troops.

AJ Lynch said...

Freder:

Here is a link to some Rezko news. It speaks to the rich guy lending Rezko money.

http://pajamasmedia.com/2008/02/what_you_didnt_know_about_obam.php

madawaskan said...

Let's just say the country might be wary about trusting the Democrats with billions of dollars because it looks like they "can't get their shit together".

Original Mike said...

Then why haven't they achieved it?

They're making progress.

Chip Ahoy said...

I'm sorry. Read this ↑ up there and got stuck.


Americans have an inane common sense

n=t?

Ha ha ha, God I love a great apposite typo.

Chip Ahoy said...

Oh. This is such an odd conversation to have before the primaries are over. Should we just go ahead and skip to the finals?

George said...

As Original Mike was saying...

The Union Army "occupied" most of the South until 1877. The South was divided into five military districts. There were about 10-15,000 Yank-, er, American soldiers stationed there until President Hayes withdrew them.

And maybe the Civil War didn't really end until the Voting Rights Act of 1964 (or later), if you consider lynching and Klan-type activity to be the moderen equivalent of terrorism, and it was.

Synova said...

The idea that our presence gives the Iraqis breathing room to relax a little bit should be seen as a *good* thing rather than a bad thing.

The idea that our presence takes away all motivation for them to work out self-government is, well, the word moronic comes to mind.

The idea that we can force them to put aside differences and work together by threatening to leave is worse than that, because the only logical recourse to such pressure is a reversion to what had been the status quo. One strong-man or group able to dominate forces "unity" and forces cooperation.

Democracy is what it is and part of its virtue is that it's difficult to get anything done when it's necessary to get agreement from various groups. It keeps the trouble makers fighting with each other with words in the capitol rather than fighting with guns to get to the top of the heap. It's not winner-take-all and minority groups do not have to feel as though they have no options or influence.

Dictatorships are *efficient*. A single person or group decides the best way to go on and everyone is forced to do that. The trains, as they say, run on time.

We *want* a democracy in Iraq, no matter how messy and chaotic that is. We need, for OUR purposes, a government that is made up of fractious and diverse elements.

Obama (and Susan Power) see segregation as the road to peace and I simply can not express how evil I find this concept. That peace can be arrived at by separating people into their own groups where they don't have to do the messy human thing of getting along with those different from themselves.

It doesn't have to be pretty but we NEED to have this example of kurds and arab sunni and shia and even other smaller minority groups such as the marsh arab or christians or sufi or any of the *innumerable* minorities in the country of Iraq getting ON together, in ONE country.

Or do we really not believe, anymore, that peace comes in any way but by removing diversity and separating people?

former law student said...

He needs to follow up as to why Saddam with $100 per barrel oil would not be more dangerous to the world than Iraq as it is today.

Oil wouldn't be at $100 a barrel if it weren't for the fall of the US dollar caused by the (im) balance of payments caused by the necessity of funding the almost-trillion dollar cost of the war in Iraq. Pogo's words now truer than ever: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

And al-Qaeda in Iraq used to be called Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn, until they decided they would sound tougher if they called themselves al-Qaeda in Iraq. It's like the Bad Boys Motorcycle Club in Toledo calling themselves the Hell's Angels -- Toledo edition. The bottom line: People are flocking to the al-Qaeda banner, thanks to us.

and aj lynch: the obamas bought a ten foot strip of the lot next door from rezko's wife. They bought their house with their own cash and a mortgage.

For us to get rid of the Iraqi tar baby, I would turn it over to the UN. Fill the country with some blue helmets, pull out, and let it be someone else's headache till the Iraqis get their shit together.

former law student said...

It doesn't have to be pretty but we NEED to have this example of kurds and arab sunni and shia and even other smaller minority groups such as the marsh arab or christians or sufi or any of the *innumerable* minorities in the country of Iraq getting ON together, in ONE country.

I remember the first time I watched this movie, when it was called Yugoslavia. Then Tito died, and it fell apart, rather noisily if you might recall. Iraq did have a Tito to hold it together, but we hanged him.

TROBlog said...

The bottom line: People are flocking to the al-Qaeda banner, thanks to us.

Are they now? Seems to me that we are killing them quicker than they can join and their "leader of the week" (because they seem to be killed about that often now) wants little to do with fighting us any longer.

But hey, no worries, once Obama is President I am sure they will all quit and go home happy and satisfied with their lives now that Bush is gone.

Oh, the naivete of the left.

Original Mike said...

FLS: The bottom line: People are flocking to the al-Qaeda banner, thanks to us.

IraqPundit: AQI has been humiliated, and its standing in the Muslim world has plummeted. http://iraqpundit.blogspot.com/2008/02/obamas-incoherence.html

Your choice who to believe, folks.

former law student said...

Original Mike: AQI has been humiliated, and its standing in the Muslim world has plummeted.

Good to know. Then there will be no objection to pulling our troops out of Iraq.

titustutudancearabesque said...

I just got back from the gym and a daddy in the locker room assuaulted me.

I went peepee and was washing my hands at the sink and he was standing next to me shaving naked.
He said to me how would you like me to tie you up and fuck you.

I said I beg your pardon and he said it again.

I then said how rude and followed it up with good day sir-that showed him.

He was completely naked shaving at the sink. His hog was pretty nice and he had some nice ink happening on the big biceps but I am not a bottom.

Then I heard him talking to this other guy about how the world is going to hell talking all tough. I was like oh please sister don't pretend to be some big macho guy you are a big Mary.

And I would not get tied up or bottom for anyone.

Original Mike said...

Good to know. Then there will be no objection to pulling our troops out of Iraq.

And then the whole thing falls apart, requiring President Obama to return to Iraq.

Please try and keep up, FLS.

And go read the IraqPundit link. You might learn something.

hdhouse said...

Glad I read this thread...I was concerned that the hawks had gone to roost somewhere else on the blogosphere but I see they are all circling...knowing that their free lunch is less than a year from ending....

Jeremy said...

hdhouse, unless you're predicting a Nadar victory, I can't imagine what you're talking about. You really think Dems are doing anything other than pandering to the antiwar left? You really think a D President is gonna up and pull out of Iraq next year? That's crazy talk.

Revenant said...

People are flocking to the al-Qaeda banner, thanks to us.

Even if that was true (and of course it isn't), that would simply give us the opportunity to kill a greater number of those people who are potential terrorists. There isn't an infinite supply of crazy Muslim assholes in the world, even if it seems like there must be. Eventually they'll run out of psychos.

Stephen said...

Obama's I-will-bug-out-faster-than-anyone-else
stategery just took a kick in the nuts. Angelina Jolie says it's time to stay.

Synova said...

She has? How interesting.

Anyhow, concerning Tito or Saddam...

Equating diversity that is held together by a strongman to diversity that exists as leaders come and go... a democracy... where it doesn't matter so much who wins this time because there is always the next election or always the ability to get some of your people into play in the parliament or assembly is hardly the same.

Tito was good, huh? We should support leaders like Tito because he holds it all together and makes people play nice?

Saddam was good?

Or perhaps, and I do want to be clear on this FLS, you believe as Obama does, that segregation is necessary for peaceful co-existence. As Susan Power says... in Iraq we need to give them warning so they can move into segregated communities before we leave.

madawaskan said...

Chip-

Shin-it ain't a typo I invert meanings all the frickin' time.

Gawd frustrating.

Well I said exactly the opposite of what I meant to-thanks for pointing it out.

Though crap-I'm sure to make more.

I really got to stop commenting I wish this didn't mean so damn much to me.

madawaskan said...

Oh one last thing -

We're suppose to trust that Obama is lying to us?

And we are stupid if we take him at his word-which is about all we've got.

MadisonMan said...

People are flocking to the al-Qaeda banner, thanks to us.

Strictly speaking, I think this is true, given that people means more than 1 person. There might be upwards of 50 people flocking to AQ because of the US!

Sloanasaurus said...

Oil wouldn't be at $100 a barrel if it weren't for the fall of the US dollar caused by the (im) balance of payments caused by the necessity of funding the almost-trillion dollar cost of the war in Iraq.

Hmmmm, lets see our current account deficit is $800+ billion and the incremental loans from Iraq have cost us maybe $5-10billion in interest per year.

You make a bad case.

Mr. Forward said...

""Public perceptions of the situation in Iraq have become significantly more positive over the past several months, even as opinions about the initial decision to use military force remain mostly negative and unchanged.

The number of Americans who say the military effort is going very or fairly well is much higher now than a year ago (48% vs. 30% in February 2007). There has been a smaller positive change in the number who believe that the U.S. will ultimately succeed in achieving its goals (now 53%, up from 47% in February 2007).

Opinion on the critical question of whether the U.S. should keep troops in Iraq is now about evenly divided, the first time this has happened since late 2006. About half of those surveyed (49%) say they favor bringing troops home as soon as possible, but most of these (33%) favor gradual withdrawal over the next year or two, rather than immediate withdrawal. Similarly, just under half (47%) say that the U.S. should keep troops in Iraq until the situation has stabilized, with most of these (30%) saying that no timetable should be set. "

http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?PageID=1258

"A radical turnabout in Pakistan
In just five months, public approval of Osama bin Laden has dropped by half.By Kenneth Ballen and Reza Aslan
from the February 21, 2008 edition

Washington and Los Angeles - This week's election results in Pakistan give Islamabad's next government the mandate to finally put the terrorists out of business. Violence in Pakistan – mostly driven by Taliban and pro-Al Qaeda forces – has not abated since the December assassination of leading opposition candidate and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. But in a potential hinge moment for what Newsweek recently called "the most dangerous nation in the world," Pakistani public opinion has turned dramatically and decisively against the radicals.

Last August, Terror Free Tomorrow (TFT) conducted a survey across Pakistan showing that from one-third to one-half of Pakistanis had a favorable opinion of Al Qaeda and related radical Islamist groups. Nearly half of respondents had a positive view of Osama bin Laden.

But now, the momentous events of the past several months – President Musharraf's crackdown against the press and opposition figures, mounting terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda and the Taliban, the assassination of Bhutto, and the campaign leading up to Monday's unprecedented election – have resulted in a sea change in Pakistani public opinion.

In a new nationwide survey conducted last month, Pakistani public support for Al Qaeda, the Taliban, bin Laden and other radical Islamist groups has plummeted by half – all the way down to the teens and single digits. The bottom has fallen out for support of the radicals.

If Al Qaeda had appeared on the ballot as a political party in the election, only 1 percent of Pakistanis would have voted for them. The Taliban would have drawn just 3 percent of the vote.

Even in areas near or in their home base, Al Qaeda and the Taliban are losing public support. Favorable opinions of Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the North-West Frontier Province have sunk to single digits. In August, 70 percent of the population of this region expressed a favorable opinion of bin Laden. Today just 4 percent do.

Indeed, these survey results mirror the stinging defeat of the Islamist parties at the hands of the voters in the North-West Frontier Province. The religious parties were big losers there, winning just nine seats in the provincial assembly, as opposed to 67 in the 2002 elections.

Given the public's dramatic turnaround against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, particularly in their home base, there is a singular opportunity for a Pakistani government with the support of the people to have the legitimacy to mount an effective campaign against the terrorists. "

http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0221/p09s02-coop.html

Michael_H said...

Barack Obama = Jimmy Carter.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Iraq did have a Tito to hold it together, but we hanged him.

Actually it was the Iraqis who hanged him.

chickenlittle said...

Obviously Obama never bought the
honey pot theory
or else he thinks it has run its course.

He can't seriously be thinking of escalating in Afganistan?

Jay said...

Behind words there's Truth....

In regards to McCain's experience.

Experience is nothing if you don't know how to put it to proper use.

His "experience" guided him to back up George W, Bush in invading a Country for Weapons of Mass Destruction that didn't have any. Which lead to the multitude of thousands being killed, over bad judgement.

Let's be Honest...

The truth is you're not ready for "CHANGE" :)

Stop hiding behind your unjustifiable excuses and doubt.