Wednesday, July 30, 2008


A Study in Contrasts

Sen. John McCain, on John McCain, quoted by Rich Lowry at The Corner:

In war and peace, I have been an imperfect servant of my country. But I have been her servant first, last and always. Whenever I faced an important choice between my country's interests or my own interests, party politics or any special interest, I chose my country. Nothing has ever mattered more to me than the honor of serving America, and nothing ever will. If you elect me President, I will always put our country first. I will put its greatness; its prosperity and peace; and the hopes and concerns of the people who make it great before any personal or partisan interest. We are going to start making this government work for you and not for the ambitions of the powerful. And I will keep that promise every hour of every day I am in office, so help me God.

Sen. Barack Obama, on Barack Obama, courtesy of Weekly Standard Blog, via Memeorandum:

[Revised paraphrase, according to Jake Tapper]

It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign, that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It’s about America. I have just become a symbol.'"

[Next sentence, quoted by Jonathan Weisman at WaPo's blog The Trail]

“I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions."

These admissions provide as stark a contrast as any with which America has been presented. No need for me to make any other remark.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Kinds of Allegiance

Last week, Presidential Candidate Senator Barack Obama made a speech in Berlin, Germany.

The Grand Revision on Iraq may be underway in earnest, but there were other revisions on display as well, when Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama gave a grand speech in Berlin.

It is no doubt true that those who win wars get to write history, but it is just as true that just about anybody, from any political legacy, can attach themselves to a victory they did not foresee, in a struggle they did not support, for an objective they did not seek.

This is just as true when speaking of the Cold War, as when speaking of our emerging victory in Iraq. Sen. Obama, presumptive Democratic Party nominee for President, hails from a political tradition and party that devalued and obstructed both.

For many on the Left, the Cold War was an invention and a series of provocations; communism and socialism were appealing doctrines, marred only by unfortunate implementations. Such idealists, like those in public broadcasting, like to think of themselves as Citizens of the world. So does Obama:

I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen – a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

In fairness to Obama, however much an internationalist, there’s no doubt Obama knows what side he needs to be on when it comes to the Cold War:

Ours is a partnership that truly began sixty years ago this summer, on the day when the first American plane touched down at Templehof.

On that day, much of this continent still lay in ruin. The rubble of this city had yet to be built into a wall. The Soviet shadow had swept across Eastern Europe, while in the West, America, Britain, and France took stock of their losses, and pondered how the world might be remade.

This is where the two sides met. And on the twenty-fourth of June, 1948, the Communists chose to blockade the western part of the city. They cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in Berlin.

The way Obama spoke in Berlin was highly reminiscent of that Cold Warrior of the past, Ronald Reagan. He spoke of the fight of a generation, for freedom, with no allusions or ambiguity about the threat to freedom posed by Soviet Communists. Would that his allies of a previous generation saw the threat as clearly. Obama this week remembered the desperate heroism of the Berlin Airlift, and what was at stake for Berliners. The iconic JFK, who Obama sought to emulate, harkened to it when he spoke in Germany. Twenty years ago, Reagan did as well, and challenged Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the wall Obama tried so hard to evoke as central imagery for his speech.

In the 1980’s, however, many of Obama’s Democratic Senate colleagues thought Reagan irresponsible, bellicose, antagonistic. They, like Obama in recent months, insisted that jaw, jaw, jaw, was better than war, war, war. Yet in less than a decade, Reagan’s challenge was met, with the USSR’s release of Eastern Europe, and in the remarkable series of events that won the Cold War, a war only barely begun with the Berlin Blockade.

Along the train of thought Obama pursued in his speech in Berlin, he suggested that while the fall of the Iron Curtain “brought new hope,” the bringing of East and West together somehow left us more vulnerable to new dangers.

Obama then juxtaposes two very different threats, represented by the “terrorists of September 11th” training globally, and automobiles and factories “melting icecaps” and “shrinking coastlines.”

Obama is certainly not alone in displaying hysteria over what he perceives as the “grave threat” of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). However commonplace this view of AGW, in politics or media, emerging science is acknowledging the gross distortions, faulty data models, exaggerated projections, and flat out bad pseudo-science pervades global warming hype from Al Gore, Obama, and other AGW shills.

Nor is Obama the first Democrat to equate or compare AGW as a threat with radical Islamic terrorism. But by definition, such a view minimizes terrorism while it grossly inflates any actual danger from a warmer climate.

Later in his speech Obama sucks up to his green-fetishist European audience by insulting America:

Let us resolve that all nations – including my own – will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere.

By all means, we should resolve such a thing: the rate of US CO2 emissions is lower than any country in Europe, and we are the only country not increasing such emissions at a dramatic rate. Europe is entirely unserious about reducing carbon emissions, and that ought to suit the US as well.

Others have also remarked on Obama’s odd locution of how 9/11 terrorists killed “thousands from all over the globe on American soil.” While a slight number of foreign victims are counted within those lost at the World Trade Center on 9/11, they’re a very small minority compared to the actual Americans killed on 9/11. The terror plotters sought to destroy Americans, an American landmark, and harm the American economy.

Obama then sets up another comparison of European and American attitudes towards each other:

In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common. In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europe’s role in our security and our future. Both views miss the truth – that Europeans today are bearing new burdens and taking more responsibility in critical parts of the world; and that just as American bases built in the last century still help to defend the security of this continent, so does our country still sacrifice greatly for freedom around the globe.

I offer a couple of observations. Obama remarks that in Europe, “the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world” is “all too common.” It’s just as common a view among University professors and academic elites, such as those from which both the Senator and his wife hail. I also question whether European commitment and support for peacekeeping and other international security initiatives around the world are increasing, rather than decreasing. I know that US military forces continue to serve around the globe, in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and nowhere in such numbers as Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s ironic that Obama mentions “American bases built in the last century” and how we “still sacrifice greatly for freedom around the globe,” without mentioning the greatest of sacrifices we make today in Iraq.

But Obama is just warming up rhetorically. He then proceeds to equate the “wall” of European and US foreign policy differences to other kinds of barriers:

That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another. The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

How could anyone question the moral imperative of tearing down these walls? Wait a minute, what’s that about “countries with the most and those with the least?”

What kind of wall exists, that relates in even a metaphorical way, between “countries that have the most” (think America) and “those with the least” (think Africa)? Wall suggests something fabricated with intent. We can safely assume poor countries don’t build that wall (although an argument can be made that their despot kleptocrats do), so by default the rich ones are to blame. So poor countries are poor and rich are rich because somehow the rich built these walls to keep the poor poor, so they, of course, must pay.

Marxist economic theology, pure and simple. One has to wonder if Obama thinks of human wealth and poverty the same way. Moments later, Obama makes it certain:

This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many. Together, we must forge trade that truly rewards the work that creates wealth, with meaningful protections for our people and our planet. This is the moment for trade that is free and fair for all.

Any (well-informed) trade economist will tell you, free markets are inherently fair, to the extent that they are truly free, without internal subsidy or tariff. But that’s not what Obama thinks. He is describing here the Demon Globalization, Old World Colonialism in another guise. Note how trade and economic growth must somehow be constrained, or better, distributed in a fashion that rewards many, rather than a few.

This alludes to the classic Progressive (and Marxist) mythology that free market capitalism rewards the few at the very top of some economic pyramid, by exploiting all those at any level below the highest tier. When he demands that any economic policy must “truly reward the work that creates wealth,” Obama isn’t talking about entrepreneurs, but standard Marxist solipsism for the Means of Production, the Common Man of the masses.

Obama ended his speech with a call to action for the “people of the world,” declaring “this is our moment.” In doing so, Obama referred to an America that has spent more than two centuries striving to perfect an imperfect nation, in which we often did not “live up to our best intentions.”

That’s true, we often have not. But at several decades older than two centuries, America is the oldest Democracy in the world, and progenitor or protector to virtually all the others.

Obama’s witness of America is the hope of the Immigrant, expressed in the close of his speech:

Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom – indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us – what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America’s shores – is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.

Yes, America is that beacon of freedom, that promise of opportunity, that offer of living life more abundantly. But I would respectfully disagree, Senator, about that first bit about allegiance.

Without a doubt, immigrants and their cultures, languages, arts, ideas and ideals have greatly enriched our Nation, in fact made us who we are in every tangible and intangible way.

But we are a Nation with an allegiance to a very particular tribe and kingdom, that of Americans, and their United States of America.

Most of us – but not all, and perhaps not Sen. Obama -- grew up reminding ourselves of that allegiance, in the form of a pledge we recited every day in school, in classrooms, auditoriums, in stadiums, ballparks, village squares, and on holidays and civic remembrances (from Wikipedia):

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

One nation, indivisible. Many of us still find that a worthy object of allegiance.

(Via Memeorandum)


Monday, July 28, 2008


Grand Revision

As if in prelude to commentary on Sen. Obama’s Presidential (Campaign) Visit to Afghanistan and Iraq, Israel and Palestinian Territories, and an adoring Europe, this past week evidenced recent evidence of Grand Revision.

This, of course, is the long predicted traverse of various political classes of Conventional Wisdom from What We All Knew Was True then, to What We Have Always Known is True now.

This turn of events surprises many, even those quite familiar with the various adages that embroider the truism, Defeat is an Orphan, Victory has a Thousand Fathers. Old political hands no doubt have all manner of examples from Partisan Navigation of the various methods and manners of the political pivot. Changes in political trade winds prompt a wise Captain to change tack. Paradigms shift.

Earlier in the week, no less a partisan than former White House Counsel Lanny Davis waxed poetic about the liberation of Iraq:

I just know I can’t get out of my mind that lady with the purple finger held up, smiling into the camera. If getting in was a mistake, then getting out — how and when — is not so simple as long as there is hope that she can some day live in a democratic Iraq that can help America in the war against terror.

Davis’s “confession of an anti-war Democrat,” was less surprising in revealing that Davis shifted readily between viewing the war as justified or not, depending on perceptions of how things were going at any moment, but rather what such admission reveals about this particular type of political animal.

Davis in effect admits that he changes his entire historical understanding and level of support for an American war effort, based on what things look like, how things are going, from moment to moment. That’s quite an admission for anyone who thinks seriously about foreign policy. It smacks of crass political expediency. Or moral relativity.

Here’s how Davis started out on his journey of transformation:

I had been strongly opposed to the U.S. intervention from the start. I felt this way even though I believed (as did most everyone, including the intelligence community) that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and even though I thought that Saddam was a murderous, genocidal thug and the world would be better off — and the U.S. safer — with him dead.

However, I reasoned, the WMD inspectors were back in and we had Saddam surrounded — thanks to George Bush, by the way, for which we Democrats did not give him sufficient credit at the time.

So why risk the uncertainties of a preemptive invasion, loss of life and treasure, and diverting our attention from 9/11 and the war against terror, which most U.S. intelligence indicated had nothing to do with Saddam?

Of course, all these remain good reasons for opposing starting the war, even as I look back now.

Davis admits to questioning his former certainty about the “wrongness” of the war when confronted by obvious indications that Iraqis actually celebrated their liberation, in joyfully embracing the rudiments of democracy after decades of oppression and horror.

Of course, when Al Qaeda set about to foment sectarian violence and the appearance of civil war, Davis reacted just as the terror Masters intended.

Then came the long demanded change in US policy in Iraq: a new counter-insurgency (COIN) strategy, and an increase of troops. The military actions necessary to create security, to give Iraq relief from violence, and a chance for the Iraqi government to make the insisted upon political progress.

Davis describes his latest change in perspective:

And then in early 2007 came the surge, which so many of us in the anti-war left of the Democratic Party predicted would be a failure, throwing good men and women and billions of dollars after futility. We were wrong.

The surge did, in fact, lead to a reduction of violence, confirmed by media on the ground as well as our military leaders.

It did allow the Shi’ite government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in the last several months to show leadership by joining, if not leading, the military effort to clean out of Basra the masked Mahdi Army controlled by the anti-U.S. Shiite extremist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and in the Sadr City section of Baghdad he claimed to control.

This willingness by the Shi’ite–dominated Maliki government to move against the Sadr Shi’ite extremists won crucial credibility for the government among many Sunni leaders and Sunnis on the streets, who joined together with Shi’ites to turn against the Al Qaeda in Iraq and other Taliban–like extremists.

These are facts, not arguments.

I suppose it should be gratifying to war supporters that anti-war Democrats can reconcile themselves to a positive outcome, to victory in Iraq, when all the uncertainty and “fog of war” has dissipated. But it reminds me of the townspeople coming alongside Gary Cooper at the end of High Noon, when Cooper and his wife protect the town against a criminal gang, unable to elicit the least support when the odds looked long, results were in doubt, and cringing citizens were more fearful of personal harm than standing in support of their town.

Via Glenn Reynolds, who also links to an earlier post, where Reader Peter Ingemi offered a prediction:

I'm remembering the coy saying about the French resistance. "If everyone who claimed to be in the resistance really had been, there would have been nobody left to collaborate."

I make the following prediction: In 20 or 25 years (it might not even take that long) all the people who where saying that the war was wrong and Iraq was wrong will talk about how America brought democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan and how they were a part of it due to their protests and desire for democracy and the end of tyranny. (of course they will not mention that the tyranny that they meant was us.) If the same people who write the current history books write them again be sure that this will happen.

The Grand Revision appears to be underway. More to follow.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Get Some Cheese

One of the great things about encouraging young soldiers to try out blogging, is when they take the plunge.

I'm been eager to read first hand reports from Afghanistan from one such soldier, blogging at Cheese's MILBLOG.

He got a scare this week while home on leave, thinking the soldiers lost in Afghanistan might have been from his own unit. That's a tragic coincidence no soldier ever wants to experience.

Cheese might have been relieved to find out the losses were from another unit elsewhere, but he offered this somber reflection:

While this may upset people who I know personally, it is of no consolation that it was strangers that died rather than my friends. I've been around the military too long to find comfort in my distance from a tragedy like this. My heart goes out to that unit, and the families of the fallen. If nothing else, this has reaffirmed my enthusiasm (for lack of a better word) to return to Afghanistan and put a very real dent in the enemies ability to do this again. While this will not make up for the loss of over 500 American soldiers on Afghan soil, it is all I can do and it's what I owe to those soldiers.
Keep on eye on this young man, and check in on him when he returns to the Stan. I'm thinking he'll have some important things to say.

I often stop myself midsentence when I explain to people that, thank God, we didn't lose any of our 642 soldiers in Iraq. Because the first thing you think of are the stories about soldiers in adjacent units that sacrificed all. Good news for us could mean tragedy for others.

Cheese, you go clean yourself up some scum on your return. Mrs. Dadmanly and I will pray for you and your men.

Linked by Dawn Patrol and Thunder Run.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008


State of the Race

I need some help from any friends out there I have left.

Why should I even make an effort of political involvement, with the choices we face?

The Democrats insisted on nominating a neophyte ultra-liberal because he was sufficiently US Defeat at Any Cost, so as to properly bury the President’s legacy in Iraq. I have absolutely nothing to criticize about Sen. Obama, because he has almost no record of leadership, accomplishment, courage, or moral fiber. In a sane political world, he wouldn’t even make a short list for VP. The only stands he’s taken I trust in him to uphold, are the ones for which he’s garnered 100% liberal rankings: abortion on demand at any age to anyone for any reason, and Government as the answer for every social ill. The liberal elite he represents have never given up on their dream of an enlightened Socialism, and now they’ll get every wish fulfilled.

Leading Democrats have been, and will be, far more interested in punishing and denigrating the current President, even if that plays right into the hands of our enemies. They have always preferred that Bush be wrong, even if that meant America losing a war they themselves voted to approve. Their absolute bottom line has been: The US has to lose in Iraq, because that execrable GWB tricked us into going to war against Saddam Hussein. As the sole Conservative in a Liberal Democratic family, I can testify that Bush Derangement Syndrome has made your average Democrat insane over any Bush accomplishment, and orgasmic over any Bush failure. They ignore any impact to US National Interests, because they honestly believe that what Bush has done to harm America justifies anything that’s done to punish the hated ‘W.’

The Republicans insisted on nominating the worst possible nominee, who cannot be caricatured any more offensively than his actual persona presents. They face the prospect of campaign performances reminiscent of James Stockdale. And they’ve deserved everything they will get, in even greater isolation, powerlessness, and evaporation as a contributor to any National civic discussion. They out-grafted even the most venal of Democrats, allowed RINOs to turn them away from every one of their core principles, except a strong defense – and they darn near frittered that away as well. No fiscal conservative can rightly defend their record.

We will get some version of universal health care, new and more generous bankruptcy and foreclosure protections, greater government control of banking, insurance, stock and bond trading, and of course, an expanding illegal immigrant amnesty that will swell the ranks of non-Americans diluting the vote of Americans. Reparations for Slavery will be forthcoming, as well as all manner of “Civil Rights” legislation for racial minorities, women (fences must be mended, after all), and the usual GLBT spaghetti of sexual abnormalities.

Government will grow gargantuan; taxes will rapidly increase, with a gross distortion of what is already a very progressive tax structure. That will of course mean that lower income Americans will get paid off in bribes and services, higher income Americans will be punished severely for daring to support the notion that our incomes are our money first before it belongs to our Government, as spoils to redistribute.

Don’t get me wrong. I too, view the Obama candidacy as a historic occasion, when many optimistically believe that race relations can be healed. But that can’t be the sole criteria for electing the erstwhile Leader of the Free World, Liberty’s Champion the world over.

Our enemies laugh at our indecision, our weaknesses, our lethargy and laziness in the face of obvious, dedicated, and continuous war against us, our allies, and our interests. Our desire to turn away again from International problems, chasing chimeras of collectivism. Meanwhile, the rest of the “civilized world” is just now waking up with raging hang-overs from such intoxications.

Mainstream media craves an Obama victory, and will do everything in their power to achieve it. European elites delight in the prospect of an Obama victory. Muslim theocracies and dictatorships the world over salivate over the hope of an Obama Presidency. Until their media advisers cautioned them of the negative effect they were having on the Obama campaign, terrorist groups openly proclaimed their support for Obama.

That’s the vantage point from which I view this week’s sycophantic Obamania. It just reinforces pessimism.

Stay tuned, but I don’t see any daylight between the US and a reinvigorated Liberal Fascism.

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