Defending the Indefensible? Liz, McCarthy(s) and the GWOT

An old charge has been brought back from the grave and used against members of Keep America Safe, the political action committee dedicated to ensuring America’s benevolent hegemony abroad, as well as her safety at home.  The PAC was started by William Kristol, son of the late (great) Irving Kristol; Elizabeth Cheney (daughter of Dick Cheney); and Debra Burlingame,sister of Charles F. ‘Chic’ Burlingame, III, pilot of American Airlines flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.”  It would behoove us to keep in mind the effort that critics of KAS take in singling out only Kristol and Cheney in their attacks.  Let’s be clear however, that members of both the Right and Left are calling all three Founders “McCarthy-ites” when they levy these charges of “fear-mongering” and borderline Neo-Nazism. 

What’s funny, is that being called a McCarthyite is extraordinarily mild compared to the perpetual reduction ad Hitlerum the left consistently employs against National Security Conservatives.  While Washington Post editorial columnist Jonathan Capehart dares not tread past the label “fear-mongering” in his quaint and insipid blog post about the matter of “The Al-Qaeda 7,” one of the members of his amen corner dares tread where… well, most liberals dare to tread:

The Rabid Reichwingers like Lizzy Borden Cheney, and Dick Adolf Cheney, are liken to Vampires. Once they get a taste of BLOOD, they want more.

They know by attacking these Lawyers, that their Reichwing Minions will pressure any Lawyer who would dare defend the Terrorist.

They assume everyone’s as Ignorant as their Minions, and won’t remeber all the court cases doing the Bush Error, concerning Terrorist.

In reality the real Terrorist America should be concern with are people like Lizzy B. Cheney and the ever increasing “RABID REICH”.

(Spelling mistakes in the original, due in part to modern liberal education I assume)

Andrew Sullivan also falls into the old reduction ad Hitlerum a number of times, one instance being his 2007 rant against President Bush’s enhanced interrogations.  How depressing, that an erudite student of Dr. Harvey Mansfield would resort to such empty hyperbole.  But I digress.

So liberals like to associate Republicans with a political party responsible for the extermination of twelve million plus fellow human beings; all of a sudden being called a McCarthyite doesn’t sting as bad.  One of these days, it is my hope that being called a Neo-Nazi, a Klansmen, a McCarthyist, et cetera will ring hollow, like the heads from whence they were spoken.  I guess this makes me an idealist. 

The fury is over a recent KAS add which addresses the hiring of nine attorneys in the Department of Justice, who also happened to have represented suspected terrorists in the past.  This matter is a bit unnerving for some as I am sure the ACLU would not be so inclined as to hire, say, Robert Bork; or how about the Southern Poverty law Center giving jobs to a handful of lawyers who represented Aryan Nations, the Klan, or real Neo-Nazis.  Does that mean that those people should not be hired?  Of course not, and by now anyone who has been keeping up with the news has heard all of the historical anecdotes where good Americans represented clients who went against America’s principles in the name of justice in the rule of law.  The most famous example being reiterated is that of John Adams’ representation of the English soldiers who opened fire on a crowd of Colonialists in Boston, Massachusetts in 1770.

The main point, however, is not that the Department of Justice hired people who used to represent suspected terrorists.  Perhaps this entire issue would have been avoided if Eric Holder, the Attorney general, had just given the names to the Senate back in November 2009 when they requested further information on the matter, as Marc Thiessen points out in the Washington Post:

 

In November, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent Holder a letter requesting that he identify officials who represented terrorists or worked for organizations advocating on their behalf, the cases and projects they worked on before coming to the Justice Department, the cases and projects they’ve worked on since joining the administration, and a list of officials who have recused themselves because of prior work on behalf of terrorist detainees.

Holder stonewalled for nearly three months. Finally, two weeks ago, he admitted that nine political appointees in the Justice Department had represented or advocated for terrorist detainees, but he failed to identify seven whose names were not publicly known or to directly answer other questions the senators posed. So Keep America Safe, a group headed by Liz Cheney, posted a Web ad demanding that Holder identify the “al-Qaeda seven,” and a subsequent Fox News investigation unearthed the names. Only under this public pressure did the Justice Department confirm their identities — but Holder still refuses to disclose their roles in detention policy.

Andrew McCarthy also addresses the issue:

Only our terrorist enemies get the red carpet treatment. “Enemies” in this context is not hyperbole. We are at war under a congressional authorization. Nearly 200,000 young Americans are in harm’s way. But enemy operatives are returning to their jihad against our troops and our citizens thanks to the help of American law firms. Only lawyers demand immunity from the ordinary duties of citizenship in a nation at war. And they further demand to be above criticism for donating their skills to al Qaeda operatives (though American prisoners must represent themselves in habeas corpus actions). The profession would reinterpret “patriotism” in total relativism: some risk their lives to fight the enemy for us, while others litigate so the enemy may be freed to return to the fight. Americans are not buying – that’s why Liz Cheney’s common sense resonates.

 

As for Jonathan Capehart and the sycophantic left, I look forward to their confrontations with their peers about the way they treated Bush Administration lawyers who meticulously explored the issue of torture, enhanced interrogations, the War on Terror, and the law.  That was exactly what lawyers like John Yoo, David Addington, Jim Haynes, Steve Bradbury and other lawyers did when they wrote what are considered the ‘nefarious torture memos’ now.  Writing in-depth analysis into the heart and soul of security and the law warranted harassment by the fringe left at their private residences and even possible criminal indictments from Congress

In the end, Senator Grassley, Liz Cheney, Keep America Safe, and FoxNews were asking their government a question regarding the most important issue facing our Federal government.  This should be an issue that Conservatives and some libertarian-leaning friends can unite around, considering both consider the Federal government’s central role to be protecting citizens.  We have a right to ask questions regarding our safety; and the Obama Administration has a right to not answer us.  But don’t get your panties in a bunch when you get called out for promising transparency, and again fail to deliver on your campaign promise.  It’s politics.  Grow up. 

-rj

Uncle Ahma’s New Sports-Car

What would we do without crazy dictators?  Probably most of the same stuff we do now.  But, while we’re on the subject, it appears that one of our favorites, Iran’s very own Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has decided to build himself a new garage–probably to house his collection of vintage, anti-zionist sports-cars.  The New York Times is reporting that Iran will begin enriching its stockpiles of uranium as early as Tuesday.  Officials from Iran claim that the enriched uranium will be used to power a medical reactor.  Political leaders across the western front, ever skeptical of Iran’s benevolent intentions, are calling for “serious measures”.

The concern is not so much that nuclear power is a bad thing, nor that any nation should be arbitrarily denied access to modern energy, but rather–and this can be downright difficult for many to grasp–that lunatic xenophobes, such as our dear Uncle Ahma, might use weapons of mass destruction to … well … destroy in mass.  You see, like many uncles, Ahma’s mouth sometimes runs away with him.  Why, a couple Thanksgivings back, he went on his “world without zionism” rant and made the comment that “Israel must be wiped off the map” (or “vanish from the pages of time” depending on which translation you prefer).  Grandma wasn’t too pleased.  Then there’s the tyrannical subjection of his own people that has us all a little weirded out.  It can be hard to make friends with the free world when you’re opposed to … ya’know … freedom.  And of course we can’t forget his financing global thugs like Hamas and Hezbollah, just to name a few.

So, it makes sense why some might be just a little bit worried about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  But, of course, its probably not a big deal after all.  Uncle Ahma’s probably just talking big so that he can impress his buddies at the Dictator’s Country Club.  I mean, sure they might butcher their own people and fund international terrorists, but we all know that these guys never actually DO anything worth worrying about … right?  I mean, its Uncle Ahma.  What’s not to love?

The Coming War

“From this site, I vow as the leader of the Jewish state that we will never again allow the hand of evil to destroy the life of our people and the life of our state. Never again.” -Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking on Holocaust Memorial Day.

There is a coming war that you are not hearing enough about.  It’s largely being ignored by American media and the impetus for doing so may be because it is being ignored by the White House.  Since the inception of the new Jewish state, the United States of America has been a staunch supporter of the nation of Israel.  But since the election of President Obama, the situation for peace in Israel has largely received only lip service by the president.  During last weeks State of the Union Address, Obama said that, “the international community is more united, and the Islamic Republic of Iran is more isolated.  And as Iran’s leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt:  They, too, will face growing consequences.  That is a promise.”

In the past week, it has been reported to extent that the U.S. is looking to expand its ballistic missile defense in four countries within the same region of Iran.  There is only one reason that our government would be looking into this option.  The White House has in fact accepted a nuclear armed Iran.  And the only actual “promise” that our president can offer us is just more words and just more speeches.  It is clear by now however, that Israel will not stand by and allow this to happen because unlike the American President,  Netanyahu is a man of action who is not merely an empty vessel pontificating at the the plebians he is forced to serve whom just don’t get it because he hasn’t made his point clear enough.

It appears that an attack by Israel up to this point has only not occurred because Netanyahu was attempting to gain the support of the American Military.  With the announcement by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran would deliver a blow to “global arrogance” on the upcoming anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, one can only assume that Iran will announce the completion of a ballistic nuclear missile.  The truth of the matter being that Iran has probably been six months or more ahead of the progress that they have been making public.  And it has been assumed for some time that Iran would have a nuclear weapon completed in 2010.  With that being the case, the coming war is probably coming soon.

Last week, speaking at a function at The Heritage Foundation, Dr. Charles Krauthammer observed, “The only question I think, for the Israeli’s now is a technical one.  Can this be done?

“It will be very dangerous and difficult.  For the Israeli’s it will be a very hard choice to make.  Nonetheless, I find it almost impossible to believe that they will accept six million Jews living under the threat of nuclear annihilation particularly given the history of the Jewish people.  I think that will trump all other considerations.”

We are likely less than 90 days from seeing the first strike, and one of the biggest questions may be who will come to Israels aid?  Many scholars have described that we will likely not only see a response from Iran, but that Hezbollah and Hamas will be released from their shackles as well.  What more is that Iran’s current friendliness with Russia creates grave concerns in regards to potential growing alliances.  In what is a gut wrenching acknowledgment, I do not believe that America will participate.  It is my full belief that the United States under the leadership of President Obama will turn their back on Israel for the first time in either countries history.  And it shames me that this notion is even a possibility.

Sovereignty At Risk?

Let’s pretend President Bush gave a domestic security organization unrestricted ability, complete with immunity from search-and-seizure and Freedom of Information Act laws. (For liberals, the wiretapping would be your closest analogy.) Well, guess what? President Obama did so two weeks ago, in a little-noticed Executive Order on the White House website. The Order, an innocuous statement for sure, was caught and reported on by several press organizations, including National Review’s The Corner and The Washington Examiner.

ThreatsWatch.org has the most thorough analysis of what this Executive Order, which “grants INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) a new level of full diplomatic immunity afforded to foreign embassies and select other “International Organizations” as set forth in the United States International Organizations Immunities Act of 1945.” In short, it appears that our sovereignty is threatened by liberals who apparently believe such a concept is merely a fossil of the past.


Update:
A former Bush official says it’s about time we allowed INTERPOL to have this status. Interesting piece by ABC’s Jake Tapper. It’s a good read.

Operation: Just Cause

In December of 1989, George H.W. Bush (or Bush Senior for the liberals who do not know the proper application of a generational?suffix) sent the XVII Airborne Corps, Joint Special Operations Command and numerous other Army, Marine, Navy and Air Force units into the country of Panama.? The operation was launched in an effort by then-President Bush to depose of Manuel Noriega (the de facto leader of the Panamanian government at the time) and rescue Americans who had been trapped in the country during those turbulent times.? The operation was named Operation Just Cause, leaving some critics of the engagement to quip that the operation’s name was the only argument H.W. Bush had to justify the action (I will leave the conspiracy theories about Skulls and Bones, Mena Airport, Bush, the CIA and aliens out for the sake of time, much to the chagrin of Alex Jones supporters).

What makes a war “just”?? Surely this is a topic that has been debated and mulled over for as long as men have been around on this earth (because women do not go to war, of course; war is a bi-product if irrational manliness).? Can anyone truly justify a war to every one’s liking?? Is the nature of the state to do what is right for the population of that state, no matter what that means for other states (as the term state is understood post-Machiavelli) as we see with the realists?? Or can a state only be justified in going to war if such an engagement is for the benefit of humanity as a whole (by asking “pretty please” from the UN)?? Then again, it was once said that “those who invoke humanity on their side mean to cheat” (Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political).?

Apparently, Americans are having a sort of crisis of conscience.? According to a recent Rasmussen Poll, only 50% percent of our fellow countrymen and women feel that the War in Afghanistan is a “Just” war.? This goes along with the Quinnipiac University poll that came out about a week and a half ago, which nearly reaches the exact same conclusion.? Support for the war in the first year preceding the September 11th attacks of 2001 was close to near unanimous approval, with Gallup showing 89-93% stating that Afghanistan was not a mistake in January of 2002.? So it appears that Americans (Democrats and Republicans mind you) are waning on their support for a war that they felt was necessary in 2001 and 2002.? What has changed?

If the Afghan War was justified then, what makes it less so now?? Surely we are there for the same reason, since we did not go over and overthrow the Taliban and then leave only to return as “occupiers”.? What is it that makes this war “unjust” then?? What is “justice” to these people who?have decided that it is no more than a mere term to be thrown around in the height of passion following an attack on 3,000 innocent people?? Was it only then just because we went in and overthrew a tyrannical regime that was directly tied to forces responsible for bloodshed on our own soil?? Now is it “unjust” solely for the reason that we are being told by the news and liberal (and libertarian and some conservative) influences that we have overstayed our welcome?? Which is the more justified action: going in and sacking the regime of a country to leave it in anarchy and decay; or staying and building it up to the point that their government can run effectively and more justly than before?? Who are the 21% of voters that have obtained this retroactive prescience? and decided they are against it after they were for it?? I can understand those people who were against it from the beginning, and that is because they feel that no war is ever justified.? They should be acknowledged and applauded for their principled stand, but let us not forget the ignorance that must be evident in such a dogmatic stance.?

I must admit that it is polls like these that create a feeling of futility in the pit of my stomach.? Perhaps a majority of Americans should not be asked a question about wars and their relation to justice until they better understand what justice is.? The slow decay of support for this necessary war is a sad barometer of the fortitude possessed by the American people to support the men and women overseas, their families at home, and the mission we sent them to do eight years ago.? In the end, those 50% of Americans who now question the mission and its necessity, are not doing those soldiers or their families justice.?

-rj

Not “Obama’s War,” But OUR War…

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” – G.K. Chesterton

?

There has been considerable analysis laid out by much more cognitively endowed people than I regarding President Obama?s Tuesday night West Point speech.? Any attempt to separate reactions based solely on ideological grounds (or the traditional ?right?/?left? spectrum) seems fairly futile.? It seems to me that those who are more middle-of-the-road are inclined to favor the President?s recent decision regarding troop levels in Afghanistan and subsequent policy; while those who are considered on the more outer fringes (of both the left and right) ?are none too pleased with the outcome.?

Those who have been critical of President Obama?s speech tend to be critical on two matters.? One is the length of time it took President Obama to come up with a decision, and the second being the substance of his speech.? On the former point, I will refrain from commenting.? This is not an article for me to be a polemicist.? On the latter point, I do not see the importance as it pertains to the policy announcement.? People seemed disappointed in our rhetorically gifted President?s lack of rhetorical flair.? I only mention this briefly, because there is a greater meaning to his delivery.? He may not feel it necessarily, but it was the vibe collectively felt by many who watched: uncertainty.? He was at the ?enemy camp? according to Chris Matthews, a la the symbol of the military class: West Point, our miniature Spartan community.? With all of the pomp and circumstance, postulating and analyzing, and finally, the postponement of A Charlie Brown Christmas; he stood before America and her warriors to announce the direction of a policy that didn?t merely affect numbers and graphs and charts.? This affects people and families and communities and countries far greater than any other markers in history.?

Don?t let this fool you.? The delivery was poor, and perhaps unenthusiastic.? What President Obama did, however, was make the right decision.? He will take shots from people within his ranks, and there are some particulars that many of us Conservatives?may disagree with.? However, it is at this moment that President Obama was asked to make the life altering decision for hundreds of thousands of Americans attached to the military, about whether or not their sacrifices were to have been made in vain.? He chose not.? He chose a step toward a victorious end instead of a mild defeat.? He came out and gave our men and women in uniform an opportunity to win a battle nearly a decade in the making.? We may not agree with much that President Obama does, but at this turbulent moment in our nation?s history, with regard to this specific circumstance that defines our Nation?s ability to combat those who threaten our being, our President faced a choice and he chose to support our troops and their cause: now we must support him in this endeavor.

-rj

The Lisbon Treaty Passes Its Last Hurdle

H/T to Nick R Brown for letting me know about this.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus, an ardent opponent of the Lisbon treaty and the expanded powers it gives the newly-empowered European Union over the 27 sovereign nations that are part of the EU, has signed the treaty. He was the last holdout for the document to be legal.

There are disagreements among conservatives as to what this means- for example, Nick thinks?the?treaty is?terrible, but?a?friend of mine involved with foreign policy in Europe?I spoke to a couple of weeks ago thinks it’s going to have a minimal effect on the United States?and?the sovereign nations it will directly effect. Myself, I don’t have a strong opinion, though I think my friend’s opinion is correct in the short-term and that?Nick’s opinion (as well as The Heritage Foundation’s)?is concerned with?the worst-case scenario should everything in the treaty go bad.

Whatever one’s opinion is, we should all have one- this treaty really is a big deal, and unfortunately?the American?media has done almost no reporting on it.

-dustin siggins

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Dustin’s contacts are most likely looking at the economic impact of the treaty.? In this area, the treaty will create tax free zones that will be very attractive to companies, especially those that are global.? The potential competition here is fantastic and aligns with my free market principles.? It may in fact force the U.S. to create tax free zones, tax breaks, or reduce trading tariffs on our own end.? The results of which would be a significant boon to our economy.

My greatest concerns regarding the treaty is the fact that it allows for the European Union to become a country. Think the United States, but instead of Georgia, New York, Virginia, etc, the member states are France, Germany, the Czech Republic, and the rest of the EU member states.? This treaty not only allows for the EU to become its own country, but additionally allows for the creation of an EU military, the election of an EU President (if it declares nation-statehood), currently banned execution of criminals, and forced declaration of insanity of citizens that refuse drug treatments like the Swine Flu vaccine.? My contention is that the drastic and potential dangers in this treaty should not be taken lightly or ignored.

-nick r. brown

At What Point Do We Take Iran Seriously?

Our own rj produced a fantastic piece a few days ago titled, “Obama’s National Security is NO LONGER FUNNY“.? And it reminded me of a piece I had written back in June, “At What Point Do We Take North Korea Seriously?

rj clearly lays out the ground work for this same question asked in the direction of Iran.? We have clearly been lied to at this point.? And it should not take us finding our inner Sherlock Holmes to put two and two together.? Iran now has two enrichment centers, and they are test firing long and short range missiles at the same time that they tell us their uranium enrichment will be used for nuclear power.? First of all, why does one of the most energy rich nations on the planet need nuclear energy?? Second of all, why in the world are we buying into this.

Let me remind you of some quotes coming from Khamenei and Ahmadinejad:

January 2001: Iran?s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ?It is the mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to erase Israel from the map of the region.?

October 26, 2005: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ?Israel must be wiped off the map?We shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism.?

April 14, 2006: Ahmadinejad, ?Like it or not, the Zionist regime is headed for annihilation.?

June 2, 2008: Ahmadinejad, ?Today, the time for the fall of the satanic power of the United States has come, and the countdown to the annihilation of the emperor of power and wealth has started.?

June 4, 2008: Ahmadinejad, ?Get ready for a world minus the U.S.?

Have we already forgotten our recent history in Iraq?? Through 14 UN Resolutions we let Iraq slide for over 10 years before we did something about that regime.? This one, is far far more serious.? Ahmadinejad promises wiping out Israel, they are enriching Uranium, and they are test firing short and long range missiles.? Our strategy?? Do away with plans to provide nations in proximity a missile shield and promise “severe” verbal punishment.

It seems that those of us who are concerned are preaching to the choir at this point simply waiting for the smoking gun to actually turn out to be a mushroom cloud.? As rj points out, when the enemies of liberty and freedom and your nation are praising and congratulating your president, you no longer have a leader at the helm, you have a puppet who can only appease based on the strings the maestro pulls.

-nick

Obama?s National Security Strategy is NO LONGER FUNNY

A few weeks back, I joked with friends about Secretary Hillary Clinton?s explosion over a mistranslated question from a young man who was asking how the President felt about a particular situation, but the Secretary thought he was asking what Former President Bill Clinton thought.? What I found to be particularly funny about that situation was the fact that it was the first time that the Obama Administration was willing to take a strong stance on something regarding foreign affairs.? No strong stance when Iran killed Pro-democracy demonstrators; no strong stance when North Korea launched missiles after being asked not to by the international community; hell, our President claims to need to escalate the war in Afghanistan, and now he can?t even decide on that!? Nevertheless, this administration will NOT tolerate the degrading of our Secretary of State by inquiring as to her husband?s thoughts? though that wasn?t even the case.

So my friends and I shared a few laughs: It is no longer funny now.

One can point out the interesting infatuation America?s enemies had for President Obama?s electoral outcome.? President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent President Obama a warm letter of congratulations following his election win; President Chavez made the comment at the UN this past week that the podium no longer smelled of ?sulfur? as it had following President Bush, but rather ?smelled of Hope;? and just recently Cuban President Fidel Castro praised President Obama?s climate change policy.? To be fair, criticism of the President over others? applause for him is unfair, because we can?t choose the people who root for us.? Remember the nefarious David Duke?s endorsement of former President Ronald Reagan?? Rather, Conservatives and moderates, and people with half a mind for foreign policy (which discredits failed National Security Advisor Brzezinsky and his call to shoot down Israeli jets), need to start addressing our President?s austere manner in which he seems to be throwing allies under the bus.? The Czech Republic, Poland and Israel are now starting the club for countries unpleasantly surprised by the new direction of American international relations.? I cannot help to point out that even if the United States didlegitimately believe it strategically necessary to drop the compact with Poland regarding our missile defense shield, the?timing and manner in?which we did it demonstrates our willingness to be more diplomatic with enemies, and less so with our friends.? Despite these grievances, the particular situation?that needs to be immediately addressed?is the growing hostilities in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is at its tipping point.? What happens in the coming months is going to decide the outcome of our endeavor, one way or another.? We must listen to General McChrystal?s request for more troops in order to fully exercise his comprehensive counter-insurgency strategy, we must give our forces over there all of the equipment and personnel they need and we must throw the gauntlet down onto the rocky terrain?to demonstrate?that we are willing to do what it takes to win this battle.? If we fail to do these things, then we will?fail at winning the war.? We cannot win a war based on the perception and respect of an indigenous population that knows only to follow a regime that demands respect, if we are to continue to look weak and emasculated.? Sadly, this is due not only to our soft-bellied liberal friends, but a toned-down effort in Afghanistan was fairly-recently advocated by leading Conservative intellectual George Will.? Almost everyone in favor of de-escalation (including Paleoconservatives, George Will and some liberals to name a few) advocates a replacement?policy of limited off-shore presence and limited direct action.

There is something romantic about special operations forces and the idea of limited engagement.? Special operations is what we see in the movies and read in books; the former tending to exaggerate the ease of which such Direct Action missions are carried out.? We enjoy the movies with Chuck Norris and Charlie Sheen (and one of my personal favorites, the opening scene from Air Force One) that embellish the Direct Action capabilities of our Special Operations Forces and give no regard to their more important uses.? Foreign Internal Defense, Civil Affairs, and force multiplying aspects of SOF community are considered by those in the military and in policy the most important.? General McChrystal, a prior Special Operator, knows this and that is why he is advocating a policy that turns conventional units into units that will be better able to carry out these three important missions.? You cannot do this with Navy ships, Tomahawks, and DA missions alone.

There is one more thing that should be addressed; that carries a weight of importance equivalent to the outcome of the mission through tactics.? Imagine yourself overseas in Afghanistan at this moment, or imagine a loved one there currently.? For many, the latter scenario is not far from reality.? How are our troops and their families supposed to carry out a mission when even their own President’s fortitude is flailing?? It is one thing to second guess strategy, but President Obama is second guessing intent and necessity; leaving anyone over there in a sort of?purgatory, because what has now been planted into the hearts and heads of our men and women is a feeling so dichotomous to hope, they are left asking themselves ?if I were to fall tomorrow, and the President pull out next month, what will I have died for??? Having a second-guessing President raises these doubts and makes accomplishing the mission at hand all the more difficult.? If there is anything harder than losing a loved one, it?s losing a loved one right before a withdrawal; which invariable leaves their loss feeling less hollowed and more for nothing.? Our troops deserve better than this.? They deserve a leader.? They are getting the opposite.?

-rj

The ‘Will’ to Power in Afghanistan

The hallways and tunnels of the federal government echo the clatter of everyday life very well.? When it comes to the Senate and House Office buildings, this is just the product of the acoustics of the hallways teaming with the hardened floors coupled with the soles of expensive shoes and the muffled talk of staffers and passers by.? When someone walks through the Capitol, there is something sacred about the forced penitence encumbered by everyone who graces the halls of that hollowed building.? When the mason guilds of Europe built the great cathedrals, they did so in a manner that amplified every minute sound that came to being.? One could not tread heavily or even speak softly without everyone else in the cathedral knowing, which served to promote silent reverence in the house of God.? There is a feeling that someone gets, an added burden of weight dropped upon the shoulders of someone who enters into such a room, be it a cathedral, hallway, or what have you.? There is something subliminally transcendent that one feels; we like this feeling because it is our connection with that which we respect on a separate plane.?

Within these halls, and outside as well, George Will?s column yesterday has encouraged an increase in muffled debate amongst conservatives.? Mr. Will has called for a pull-out in essence.? With his typical erudition, he lays out history and fact before making his prognostication:

So, instead, forces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent Special Forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.

Conservatives have been regarded as the avant-gardefor the status-quo; we choose the ?devil we know? over ?the devil we do not know.?? These days, I believe it is safe to say that Conservatives are the ones more inclined to point out that strategy in Afghanistan needs to change.? Max Boot, not even a week prior to George Will?s bombshell, mentioned on Commentary?s website?that it is ?only by adding more resources can Obama offer the prospect of long-term victory in a war effort that he himself has deemed a ?war of necessity.??? It is no longer the conservative population harking ?stay the course,? especially following the success of ?the surge? in Iraq.? Iraq saw dwindling public support, increased violence, and looked to be a situation worth second-guessing: only second guessing does not act as a reset button.? Few people supported the surge at the beginning, even President Bush was skeptical.? In the end, he decided to do what should have been done since the beginning which was to populate the country with boots on the ground and create a catalyst for growth and development through security.? Should President Obama accompany the present troop surge in Afghanistan with the proper counter-insurgency plan with the help of Gen. McChrystal, he can orchestrate a turn-around for the better which deserves bipartisan support like nothing else could.?

Mr. Will?s column advocating that everyone see the glass for what it is to him, which is half-empty, does not help the war effort, the conservative movement, or his own image.? While the ashes in New York were still smoldering, and cheeks of loved ones who lost that September day were still damp; Mr. Will wrote at the beginning of the Afghan excursion: ?When advocates of merely minor objectives are praised as ?cooler heads,? the pertinent attribute may be cold feet.?? His support, along with some 80% of all Americans at the time, of the war in Afghanistan was supposed to stand the test of time.? The public support for Enduring Freedom has fallen precipitously since then; in July, 36% of respondents in a Gallup poll said that going to Afghanistan was a mistake.? It was not the highest we have had, but those in the mistake camp have multiplied their numbers from 6% in 2002 to what it is today.? Mr. Will may not be in the mistake camp, but his words give them fodder.? What?s more depressing, is the number of elected officials who are questioning the mission their.? Fortunately, many refrain from doing so publicly, but their venomous pessimism spreads covertly into the mainstream American consciousness.?

Mr. Will?s article calling for pulling out is scant in comparison to many of his verbose narratives; but like many other concise exercises of thought and word (the Gettysburg Address for example) his article packs a mighty punch to the establishment.? There was one reflection that struck me in particular; it was how he ended the article:

?Genius, said de Gaulle, recalling Bismarck’s decision to halt German forces short of Paris in 1870, sometimes consists of knowing when to stop. Genius is not required to recognize that in Afghanistan, when means now, before more American valor, such as Allen’s, is squandered.

The esoteric now in the word knowing was an interesting touch.? His final point regards squandering valor.? Now I am quick to admit, with great humility, that I do not serve and have not served in the armed forces, despite coming from a family that did and continues to.? I remember my Senior year in high school when my father served bravely in Afghanistan, and I watched news reports and dreaded word of fatalities.? I remember being in AP US History with Mr. Lube (shortened version of his very long, Polish name) and my cell phone had gone off in class on my birthday.? I looked down in embarrassment and saw the scrambled number or the word Private or something that made me realize that my dad was calling during one of the rare times he could grab a satellite phone.? I gave Mr. Lube a look and he told me I could leave the class to take the call outside.? Dad and I spoke briefly, he wished me happy birthday over the delayed line and then we hung up.? I stood in the locker bank for a minute and stared at my phone.? Tears welled up in my eyes, and in a shameless display of weakness and futility I cried.? Nobody with friends or family overseas wishes to have more people to share their worries with in the end, because that means more people feel the cocktail of uncontrollable emotions and living with a loved one overseas.? There is something that would feel worse to anyone with a family member or friend who is overseas; and that is thinking that their sacrifice, their blood, your tears or their life went in vain.? American valor cannot be squandered unless we take the route the Mr. Will prescribes.? American valor will not be squandered when we take the route that secures the freedoms of a people, the security of our country, and sanctifies the mission for which so many gave their lives.

-rj

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