War Archives

Regarding the recent invasion of Russian forces into Georgia, Rod Dreher links to Fred Kaplan. Kaplan states,

Bush pressed the other NATO powers to place Georgia’s application for membership on the fast track. The Europeans rejected the idea, understanding the geo-strategic implications of pushing NATO’s boundaries right up to Russia’s border. If the Europeans had let Bush have his way, we would now be obligated by treaty to send troops in Georgia’s defense. That is to say, we would now be in a shooting war with the Russians. Those who might oppose entering such a war would be accused of “weakening our credibility” and “destroying the unity of the Western alliance.”

Dreher states,

To be fair, refusing to defend a NATO country that had come under attack would weaken the credibility of the alliance. But of course it would be insane to get into a shooting war with Russia — which still has nuclear weapons — to defend Georgia. This is why Bush had no business leading the Georgians on with this kind of crazy talk…

As repellent as I find the prospect of an Obama presidency, the idea of hotheaded John McCain sitting in the Oval Office now trying to figure out how to deal with a newly aggressive Russia makes me extremely nervous — this, to the extent that a McCain administration, on national security and foreign policy, represents a third Bush term.

Maybe Dreher and Kaplan should spray some Windex on their crystal balls.

The way I see it, the Russians not only see us as resource-stretched (and rightly so), what with our commitments to Afghanistan and Iraq, but they also see a lame-duck president.

More importantly, however, I think that they view the American people’s will as weak, and that their own fortune-tellers are envisioning an upcoming administration chock-full of platitudes, yet devoid of substance.

Notice that many of the complaints and criticisms of the way we’re handling the global war on terror link back to 20th century modes of thinking. Comparisons are made to Vietnam, the Cold War, NATO, etc. The problem is, we aren’t living in the 20th century. There is no Soviet Bloc, we aren’t on the verge of nuclear annihilation and, for the most part, we aren’t facing an enemy clothed in identifiable uniforms.

In Rethinking Russia on Terrorism Issues, Douglas Farah states,

…Russia is set on selling weapons to those who want very badly to hurt us, and who buy their weapons with the stated purpose of using them for that.

Everyone sells weapons, and yes, the United States plays in the game. But Russia’s willingness to arm non-state actors and states that are facing international sanction is qualitatively different.

This is the world we face, in the 21st century.

Moral Authority II

Matthew Yglesias:

Watch in amazement as John McCain condemns Russia for having the temerity to cross an international boundary — “in the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.”

We all recall, of course, John McCain’s outrage when the United States violated this rule back in 2003.

So James Taranto’s prediction has quickly come true.  Which got me wondering; how many dozen UN resolutions does it take before an invasion is OK by international standards, and how many resolutions was Russia enforcing when it invaded the Republic of Georgia?

[tags]Mathew Yglesias,John McCain,Russia,James Taranto,Best of the Web Today,United Nations,Republic of Georgia[/tags]

"Ich Bin Ein … Georgian"

John McCain said "…today we are all Georgians."  The Lefty blogosphere’s reaction:

Matthew Yglesias:

Common sense indicates that, no, I am not a Georgian. But John McCain says “today we are all Georgians.” But does he mean it? Suppose Russia was bombing Atlanta and threatening to advance to Savannah. In solidarity with Georgia (the state) Americans from all fifty states would band together and fight the Russians off. Now I don’t think we should go to war with Russia. And I hope John McCain doesn’t think we should go to war with Russia. But insofar as he doesn’t mean that we should go to war with Russia on Georgia’s behalf, what’s the meaning of the claim that “we are all Georgians”?

On one level, it’s empty political sloganeering. But on another level it’s not empty — it’s downright irresponsible, and an example of the sort of irresponsible behavior that got us into this.

"smintheus", on the front page of the Daily Kos:

How would the trad media have portrayed Barack Obama if he had behaved as John McCain has done since Georgian President Saakashvili sent troops into South Ossetia? Would it have been ‘presumptuous’ to issue proposals to intervene in the fighting even before the President had spoken? To stake out an aggressive position far in front of anything the US wished to adopt? To attack a rival candidate for refusing to do the same?

Jasen at ElectoPundit:

Maybe John McCain would like to get us involved in ethnic cleansing campaigns, or nuclear exchanges?

Michael Crowley at The New Republic:

It may be a noble sentiment, and Georgia is deserving of American diplomatic support. But is he really speaking for all–or even most–Americans? My strong hunch is that precious few Americans want to feel they’re the victims of Russian aggression. Instead they want all the foreign-policy madness to calm down already. It hardly seems a winning message for McCain to imply that in their hearts the American people should consider themselves at war with Russia.

A. Serwer at The American Prospect:

I think I speak for most Americans when I say:

"Does he mean the state?"

In all seriousness, if the battle over South Ossetia is 9/11, then didn’t McCain just commit us to a military response, since that’s how the United States responded in the aftermath of the WTC attacks? The election hasn’t even happened yet and he’s trying to start new wars.

Some people might call that "presumptuous."

I wonder what these folks would think if, say, a Democratic President, in the middle of the Cold War, went to West Berlin and said,

All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words ‘Ich bin ein Berliner!

Do you think there’d be nearly the accusations of war-mongering and presumption then?  (Hint: No.)  JFK claimed to speak for the entire free world, for goodness sake!

Perhaps McCain should have said, "I am a Georgian" in Georgian.  That would have been OK, right?  Right?

[tags]John McCain,Russia,Republic of Georgia,Matthew Yglesias,Daily Kos,The American Prospect,ElectoPundit,The New Republic,John F. Kennedy[/tags]

Moral Authority

James Taranto, writing for the Wall St. Journal, tried to anticipate an argument by anti-war types:

Here’s what’s going to happen next: Someone will argue that America lacks the "moral standing" to oppose Russian intervention in Georgia, because we intervened in Iraq "without U.N. approval." When the U.S. liberated Iraq, of course, it was acting to enforce the Security Council’s own resolutions. So America’s acting to overcome U.N. fecklessness will be invoked as an excuse for Russia’s unprovoked violation of another country’s sovereignty. U.N. idolatry runs counter to the U.N.’s own purported reason for existing.

As blogger TigerHawk notes, though, they may not ever make that argument because they won’t have much of anything to say.  After checking off the many groups that have nothing to say about it (and crediting the one that did), he concludes:

So far, at least, it is safe to conclude that these organizations are not so much anti-war as they are anti-American and anti-Israeli. It is useful to clear that up.

Since that post, two sites have said at least something about it.  Democracy Now has conducted an interview with a retired Air Force Colonel about the history in the region.  The Stop the War Coalition has an opinion piece that essentially states that Georgia is as much to blame for the conflict.  But there is still basically no real outrage.  Pretty much all quiet on the anti-war front.  And if the only wars that they are against, or even bother to work up a sweat about, are those involving the US or Israel, then I’d say they need to relabel themselves or lose their own moral authority.

[tags]moral authority,anti-war,Democracy Now,Stop the War Coalition,James Taranto,Best of the Web Today[/tags]

New Poll: The Russo-Georgia War

As I write this, Russian forces are within 35 miles of Tbilisi, the capital of the Republic of Georgia, and the UN has been unable to come to any agreement about it. What do you think the U.S. should do about this, if anything? Pick your top 1 or 2 choices at the right, and comment on this post about it. For example, if you pick the military option, how would you see that being able to work? (I personally don’t see how, but feel free to let me know your thoughts.) If you say we should not intervene at all, why not?

As this is a quickly changing situation, the polls close Wednesday night. Let us hear from you. Thanks.

Update: Added the “Economic sanctions” option this Tuesday morning.  Sorry, those of you who already voted who would have liked to choose this option.  But hey, it’s just a poll.  It’s not, like, news or anything.  🙂

20/20 Foresight

If you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that a vote for the surge in Iraq and its strategy changes would dramatically reduce the amount of violence and deaths, giving the Iraqi government breathing room to get 15 of 18 benchmarks completed, would you vote for it?  If it was a certainty?

Obama wouldn’t have.  The man of Hope and Change(tm) would have kept the status quo.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is playing politics with the war and the lives of our soldiers.  Bailing out at all costs — big costs, to Iraq if not to us — is irresponsibility at its highest.  That’s not the kind of man I want as President.

[tags]Barack Obama,Iraq surge[/tags]

In. The. Tank.

Not content to send mere reporters with Obama when he visits Iraq, all the Big Three network news organizations are going to send their anchors.  Which, of course, they also did for McCain.  Or not.

While Thursday’s New York Times reported that the anchors from all three network newscasts will be joining Barack Obama on his trip to Iraq, they showed no such interest in following John McCain during his visit to Iraq in March. During the week of March 16, McCain’s trip received only four full-length stories during the combined ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news program coverage. Three of those stories were on NBC’s "Nightly News," one of which focused on McCain’s mistaken comment about Iran funding Al Qaeda in Iraq. ABC’s "World News" did only one full-length story on McCain’s Iraq trip, which mentioned the gaffe. The CBS "Evening News" was by far the worst, devoting only 31 words to the Republican nominee’s Iraq visit during the entire week of evening news coverage.

(Emphasis in original.)  This is pointing out yet another disparity from the media regarding news coverage that the Times is now having to grudgingly recognize.

Even the Times article acknowledged that McCain’s Iraq trip received little coverage: "Senator John McCain’s trip to Iraq last March was a low-key affair: With a small retinue of reporters chasing him abroad…But the coverage also feeds into concerns in Mr. McCain’s campaign, and among Republicans in general, that the news media are imbalanced in their coverage of the candidates."

Oh, but it’s not actually true that the media are ignoring McCain, it’s just that the fact "feeds into concerns" that there is a problem.  Like I said, grudgingly.

And by the way, how much better must the security situation be in Iraq that the Big Three feel comfortable sending their top dogs to the field? 

[tags]Barack Obama,John McCain,liberal media bias[/tags]

President Bush – Underestimated?

During my recent interview with author Jane Hampton Cook, I asked her how she thought history would view President Bush. One of the interesting things she mentioned was how the President was more concerned with doing what he felt was right then what was popular or politically expedient and as a result history will likely look more favorably on his presidency than the press does now. I tend to agree with this view.

It’s even more refreshing when members of the mainstream media begin to understand this dynamic. This article (from Great Britain, no less) nails it perfectly and at the same time calls liberals and Europeans on the carpet for their deranged hatred of the President (hat tip: Instapundit):

This is a man who has the courage of his convictions.

Let’s not forget how Europe does wars.

Usually we wait and wait until the enemy starts attacking, then we let them win a bit, then we fight until we are tired, then we just call the US to come over to clean our mess. That is what happened in WWI, WWII, and the Balkans.

Bush is just showing us what a bunch of dangerous ditherers we are and we hate him for it. Naturally.

And the Olympics. Bush said right from the beginning that he’s going to the opening ceremony because he saw the whole boycott thing as silly and counterproductive.

Compare that with Sarkozy who has changed his mind twice so far and to Gordon Brown who, well… err.

Not much leadership from Europe here, as usual, just doublespeak. Once again, it is to Bush that we look for leadership.

Bush may not have the slickness of his predecessor, but he is a man you can trust and who prefers to tell it like it is.

This is refreshing, and very scary for us who are used to our politicians always talking grandly about principles and hiding behind political mumbo-speak.

The fact is you guys hate Mr Bush because he is not a hypocrite and you are used to hypocrites as your leaders. We hate what we don’t understand.

Yes, yes, all you bleeding heart liberals are cringing out there. I can just hear you. But the fact is, Mr Bush has had to take some very tough decisions and the world needs people who can not only talk but also act tough and admit mistakes.

Well said.

Let There Be Peas On Earth

And let there be broccoli too.

In the hunting for a clue category, at Levellers Mr Westmoreland-White writes:

However, there is zero justification for Christians to be willing to kill other human beings (persons made in God’s image; persons for whom Christ died) “in defence of their country” or anything else. To kill is to betray the gospel.

and in a comment:

To say that, however, is not to say that Christians involved in, say, WWII were not trying to do the best they could with what seemed to them to be limited options. Most of them never heard of Christian pacifism, never mind organized nonviolent direct action.

Or in might be better said, to suppose that “Christian pacifism” or “organized nonviolent direct action” would have mollified Hitler and stopped the Nazi war machine is errant nonsense. Now in the 9th century,  Constantinople was besieged by the Rus and her army was afield resisting Islamic armies. They believed that their rescue was owed to the robe of the Theotokos (the Virgin Mary) affecting a miracle to save them. Somehow I doubt a pious miracle is the solution Mr Westmorland-White depends on to replace the armed resistance against Nazi aggression. Actually, the problem is, I very much doubt there is any reasonable pacifistic non-violent suggestions on offer for how Nazi and Hitler might have been confronted or that he will suggest one. Read the rest of this entry

The Price of "Military Adventurism"

Hezbollah is planning on hitting Israeli targets anywhere in the world they can find them.

Intelligence agencies in the United States and Canada are warning of mounting signs that Hezbollah, backed by Iran, is poised to mount a terror attack against "Jewish targets" somewhere outside the Middle East.

Intelligence officials tell ABC News the group has activated suspected "sleeper cells" in Canada and key operatives have been tracked moving outside the group’s Lebanon base to Canada, Europe and Africa.


Suspected Hezbollah operatives have conducted recent surveillance on the Israeli embassy in Ottawa, Canada and on several synagogues in Toronto, according to the officials.

Latin American is also considered a possible target by officials following Hezbollah’s planning.

Being a terrorist organization, they have just one thing on their mind; death.

"They want to kill as many people as they can, they want it to be a big splash," said former CIA intelligence officer Bob Baer, who says he met with Hezbollah leaders in Beirut last month.

"They cannot have an operation fail," said Baer, "and I don’t think they will. They’re the A-team of terrorism."

And what about "The Great Satan"?  How about Israeli interests in the United States?

Baer says his Hezbollah contacts told him an attack against the US was unlikely because Iran and Hezbollah did not want to give the Bush administration an excuse to attack.

So then, a terrorist organization, even one where suicide bombing is a major weapon, can still be deterred if there is a credible threat of force.  And specifically because of the actions of the Bush administration, this organization (that Michael Chertoff, quoted in the article, says that "they make al Qaeda look like a minor league team") doesn’t want to attack us and we in the United States are safer than, say, an unnamed neighbor to the north who only wants to send their military in when there’s little chance of getting into an actual fight.

I’d rather be feared by the terrorists than get more in France’s good graces.  It isn’t enough to simply have a military if you never intend to use it.  Osama bin Laden, after we tucked tail and ran out of Somalia when things got the slightest bit hot, came to the conclusion "that the American soldier was just a paper tiger".  This emboldened him for the 9/11 attacks, but what he failed to realize is that the "paper tiger" had already finished his 2nd term. 

This is not to say that any and every conflict must be entered full force, or that diplomacy makes us less safe.  That is not the case.  But the anti-war crowd would do well to note Hezbollah’s reticence to come after us.  If we’d let Saddam Hussein have Kuwait, or if we’d not responded when he shot almost daily at our planes enforcing the cease-fire, or if we’d ignored the fact that so much of his known WMDs were unaccounted for, or simply rattled the plastic saber of UN resolutions a hundred more times (and have them ignored just as many times), Hezbollah, based on this analysis, would have been more likely to attack us on our soil.  Saddam had been subject to the world’s frowns and the UN’s sternly worded letters for over a decade.  Diplomacy had had much more than its fair shot at coming to a peaceful conclusion.

Pundits, bloggers and presidential candidates on the Left over the years have said that the Bush Doctrine has not made us safer.  The reality is, out of fear of us and due to stepped up anti-terrorism measures, the US and US interests have been safer from terrorist attacks than any 5-year period in a long time.  No attacks.  And (to torture an analogy) an ounce of an act of terrorism prevented, due to the bad guys’ fear, is worth a pound of spies. 

I would urge America not to elect another paper tiger in November.  We don’t need to embolden terrorists.

[tags]Hezbollah,terrorism,Bush Doctrine,Saddam Hussein,Iraq,United Nations,war,paper tiger,Osama bin Laden[/tags]

Bush Lied! (Or Not.) – Part Deux

More deconstructing of the meme that Bush lied and the Democrats were misled. This time, it’s from James Kirchick. This isn’t someone on the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy mailing list; he’s been actively speaking out against the Right. And now we hear from him:

Yet in spite of all the accusations of White House “manipulation” — that it pressured intelligence analysts into connecting Hussein and Al Qaeda and concocted evidence about weapons of mass destruction — administration critics continually demonstrate an inability to distinguish making claims based on flawed intelligence from knowingly propagating falsehoods.

Oh please Read the Whole Thing(tm). Frankly, I’m thrilled that the Washington Post Editorial Page Editor and now an assistant editor of the New Republic are finally arriving at the truth. At the same time, the information that they’re working from — the Senate Intelligence Committee report recently released — doesn’t really break new ground in terms of the facts presented, and in fact comes to the same conclusion that the 2004 report from the same committee came to, Senator Rockefeller’s bleat about being led to war “under false pretenses” not withstanding.

As much as the media has presented and pushed and given air to the charge of lying on the part of the Bush administration, and as serious a charge as it is, one would hope that it would give as much attention to the report and those on the Left who are backing the President.

One can hope. One can always hope. But hold not thy breath.

[tags]James Kirchick,The New Republic,Iraq war,Bush lied,Senate Intelligence Comittee,media bias[/tags]

Bush Lied! (Or Not.)

Democratic Senator John D. Rockefeller claims victory in investigating whether or not Bush lied in order to get us into war with Iraq. 

"In making the case for war, the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even nonexistent," he said.

"Bush lied, people died!", went the call, which is now a piece of Received Wisdom on the Left.  But just a the slogan was disingenuous, so is Rockefeller’s pronouncement on the report.  Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post (no stalwart of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, they) lays it out.

On Iraq’s nuclear weapons program? The president’s statements "were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates."

On biological weapons, production capability and those infamous mobile laboratories? The president’s statements "were substantiated by intelligence information."

On chemical weapons, then? "Substantiated by intelligence information."

On weapons of mass destruction overall (a separate section of the intelligence committee report)? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information." Delivery vehicles such as ballistic missiles? "Generally substantiated by available intelligence." Unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to deliver WMDs? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information."

As you read through the report, you begin to think maybe you’ve mistakenly picked up the minority dissent. But, no, this is the Rockefeller indictment. So, you think, the smoking gun must appear in the section on Bush’s claims about Saddam Hussein’s alleged ties to terrorism.

But statements regarding Iraq’s support for terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information." Statements that Iraq provided safe haven for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other terrorists with ties to al-Qaeda "were substantiated by the intelligence assessments," and statements regarding Iraq’s contacts with al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information." The report is left to complain about "implications" and statements that "left the impression" that those contacts led to substantive Iraqi cooperation.

So what went wrong?  Hiatt comes to admit that it’s what the Right has been saying all along.

But the phony "Bush lied" story line distracts from the biggest prewar failure: the fact that so much of the intelligence upon which Bush and Rockefeller and everyone else relied turned out to be tragically, catastrophically wrong.

(Wow, is having the MSM call the "Bush lied" meme "phony" one of the signs of the apocalypse?) 

So the line has been drawn, ironically by the Democrats themselves.  Henceforth, anyone parroting this idea is themselves lying or hopelessly uninformed.  Stay tuned.

[tags]Bush lied,Washington Post,Frank Hiatt,Senator John D. Rockefeller,Iraq war[/tags]

The Foreign Policy About-Face

Joe Lieberman, on his party and how it dealt with enemies:

Beginning in the 1940s, the Democratic Party was forced to confront two of the most dangerous enemies our nation has ever faced: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In response, Democrats under Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy forged and conducted a foreign policy that was principled, internationalist, strong and successful.

This was the Democratic Party that I grew up in – a party that was unhesitatingly and proudly pro-American, a party that was unafraid to make moral judgments about the world beyond our borders. It was a party that understood that either the American people stood united with free nations and freedom fighters against the forces of totalitarianism, or that we would fall divided.

This was the Democratic Party of Harry Truman, who pledged that "it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."

And this was the Democratic Party of John F. Kennedy, who promised in his inaugural address that the United States would "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of freedom."

And then came the late 1960s, and it turned upside-down.  Or, perhaps more correctly, inside-out.  Read the whole thing.

[tags]Joe Lieberman,Democrats,foreign policy[/tags]

America Alone (v. 5)

Mark Steyn’s book, America Alone, isn’t a call for more war, more bombing, or more killing, but for more will. Herein follows a series of posts either highlight Steyn quotes, or listing current events which, indeed, indicate that America is alone in her fight against Islamic terror.

Re: the West’s rabid belief in pluralism and the fantasy of co-existence –

One Step Forward, Several Back, in Efforts to Define the Enemy, Counterterrorism Blog,

As my colleague Jeffrey Imm has recently noted, there has been a alarming few steps back in identifying the Salafist/jihadist threat we face in any way with a growing current of Islam.

The new threat assessment, the State of the Union, (as noted by Andrew Cochran here) both fail to mention Islamism by name.

Our government is not alone. The British government has has decided the Islamist radicals are now to be called criminals so Muslims won’t be offended.

and a consequence,

Chad’s Future Taliban enters capital while the West is asleep,

As Americans are debating who among their candidates for the primaries can best confront the Jihadists or at least preempt their offensives worldwide, future Jihadi forces have in one day invaded an African country (under European protection), a key location for the Darfur forthcoming Peace missions. In less than 12 hours the so-called armed opposition of Chad, crossed the entire country from its Eastern frontiers with Islamist-ruled Sudan to the capital N’Djamena across from Northern Nigeria. The latest reports mention fierce battles around the Presidential Palace and back and forth inside the city. But at this stage the geo-political consequences are crucial for the next stages locally, regionally and internationally. The bottom line is that in one day, what could become the future Taliban of Chad have scored a strategic victory not only against the Government of the country (which was supposed to back up the UN plans to save Darfur in Sudan) but also against the efforts by the African Union and European Union to contain the Sudanese regime and stop the Genocide.

[tags]al qaeda, america alone, aq, iran, iraq, islamic terror, islamist, jihad, mark steyn, multi-culturalism, radical islam[/tags]

The Long War (v. 5)

From the Belmont Club,

Al-Qaeda is mining Facebook to unearth personal details of coalition military personnel. “The MI5 analysts have seen that many thousands of servicemen and women had posted personal details on those websites and had included news of their careers, pictures of themselves in uniforms and details of past postings. “Those details in the hands of al-Qaida operatives offer invaluable information,” Evans warns.”

From HotAir,

Islamist extremists have infiltrated Government and key public utilities to pass sensitive information to terrorists, the security services have warned…

The development is detailed in intelligence reports circulated to the Home Office, police and Whitehall officials.

The London Underground, Gatwick airport and BT are cited as examples of organisations which have been targeted by individuals linked to terrorists…

From Counterterrorism Blog,

The SITE Intelligence Group has released an announcement from Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, in which it stipulates demands for the release of two Austrian tourists taken hostage this week. The demands provide three days for the Tunisian and Algerian governments to release prisoners…

Earlier today, the NEFA Foundation translated the AQIM communique in which it first claimed the kidnapping. AQIM warned Austria against attempting any military action to free the hostages and warned Western tourists to stay away from Tunisia: “The hands of the mujahideen can reach you wherever you are in the country of Tunisia…”

 Page 6 of 7  « First  ... « 3  4  5  6  7 »