Miscalculating, Miscalculating

“The White House has been surprised by how much attention has remained on the questions about Bergdahl, from the circumstances of his disappearance to the wild beard his father grew while he was being held that’s even led to Bergdahl’s hometown canceling a celebration. All this, Obama aides say, is in their minds a proxy for the hatred toward the president.”

Well, then how do they explain me?  I don’t hate the president, I like the president, I voted for the president.  But I am furious about the Bergdahl deal.  They keep saying we don’t leave our soldiers behind.  But Bergdahl left us behind first.  So screw him.  I wouldn’t have paid a nickel to get him back, let alone give up five top Taliban leaders.  Bergdahl wasn’t drafted, he signed up.  Bergdahl had alternatives to deserting.  We let people out of the military who have emotional/psychological problems.  I haven’t seen any evidence that Bergdahl sought an honorable way home.
Besides being disturbed by this disgusting deal, I am further dismayed by the cluelessness of this White House, that they didn’t see the blowback coming from people who aren’t Sean Hannity.   Obama has failed not just as commander in chief, but as a basic politician — you have to have your finger on the pulse of your people.  What is going on in this White House?  Are they drunk and talking to the portraits?

It’s About the Big Bang, Not Big Bird

The GOP tells us that this is a watershed election.  I agree, but not for the reasons they say.  This isn’t about whether or not we’re going to switch to vouchers for Medicare or what the Medicaid budget is going to be.  This is about whether we’re going to continue down the Republican path to the Dark Ages.

To their shame, the GOP has let extremists take over their party at the state and national level.   The question on November 6 is whether we’re going to let the crazies take over our country.

I grew up believing that some things were settled in our society — that evolution was established science, that Keynesianism was established economics.  But now the GOP presents laughable, long-discredited science and economics as the truth.

With 435 congressional districts, we’re going to get people like Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin.  But fringe people like him should not be elevated to the Senate.  And they definitely shouldn’t become Vice President, but Paul Ryan and Todd Akin are Tweedledee and Tweedledum on social issues.  Ryan is a little more careful about what he says in public, but their views and votes are the same.

We are outraged about the Taliban shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan because she defended the right of girls to go to school.  We rightly think the Taliban are sick barbarians.  But if Ryan and Akin had their way, we’d have 14-year-old rape and incest victims dying from illegal abortions.  That is every bit as sick and barbaric.

I voted for Bush 43 in 2004 and McCain in 2008 because I was afraid of the radical Muslims.   I’m still a registered Republican, but I’m voting for Obama because I’m afraid of the radical Christians.  I want to defeat the Christian Taliban here at home.


Pakistan Wins

Pakistan closed our overland supply routes into Afghanistan last November because we refused to apologize for a mistaken NATO attack  in which 24 Pakistani soldiers (no civilians) died.

That impasse came to an end today.  We caved — Hillary Clinton apologized to Pakistan Foreign Minister Rabbani Khar.

We rightly refused to apologize because there was more than enough blame to go around.  The Pakistanis didn’t let us know they had a new outpost, even though they were supposed to keep us apprised of where their border troops were, so that we wouldn’t mistake them for the Taliban.  It’s not exactly easy to tell who’s who on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Pakistan was furious with us.  Today, I’m furious with President Obama for giving in.

Pakistan is not our ally, and no amount of denial or groveling will change that.

President Obama Keeping Us Safe

Both Reuters and CNN are now confirming that a U. S. drone strike in Pakistan has killed Al Qaeda’s #2, Abu Yahya al-Libi.

I hope he enjoys his 72 virgins as much as I enjoy his no longer being on this planet.

Al Qaeda is having to spend much more effort trying to avoid our drones than they are plotting attacks against us, which is fine with me.

President Obama doesn’t get anywhere near the credit he should for his aggressive and successful drone campaign.  It makes the left queasy, and it makes the GOP mad that he’s stealing their thunder on national security.  But I’m really impressed, and history will be too.

If this is how you “apologize” for America, keep those apologies raining down on our enemies.



This President Doesn’t “Apologize” for America

Mitt and the GOP falsely accuse President Obama of “apologizing” for America.  I was pleased to see Colin Powell slam Sean Hannity on this phony talking point last week.

Our relations with Pakistan are at an impasse precisely because the President has refused to apologize for last November’s NATO strike that accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the border with Afghanistan.  There was plenty of blame to go around in that attack, especially since Pakistan didn’t inform us where their troops were.

The President also declined to meet with Pakistani President Zardari at the NATO summit in Chicago.  Zardari was invited because it looked as if the dispute over NATO’s using their roads to move supplies to Afghanistan was getting resolved.  But when the talks broke down, Obama snubbed Zardari, including leaving Pakistan out of the countries Obama publicly thanked for their help with Afghanistan.

The President also has refused to ease up on drone strikes against militants in Pakistan, despite Pakistani demands that we end those strikes.

The President is playing hard ball with Pakistan, as he should, but not getting any credit from the GOP.  They owe him an apology.

Does Obama Envy Hollande?

When President Obama met with French President Francois Hollande, and Hollande stuck to his guns about withdrawing from Afghanistan at the end of this year, I wonder if at some point, Obama said, “I wish we could too.”  He had to at least been thinking it.

The Americans who give their lives or get wounded in Afghanistan between now and the end of 2014 are engaged in an exercise in futility.  The President knows this, and it has to eat at him.  The only worthwhile missions are drone strikes and special forces raids in places like Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia, wherever Al Qaeda is still active.

After 9/11, the GOP faulted Bill Clinton for dealing with terrorism as a law enforcement issue.  But we’ve gone too far in the other direction of treating it as a nation-building issue, requiring an enormous footprint.  The proper approach is to treat it as an intelligence/special ops issue.

How Can We Call Pakistan an Ally?

Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA locate bin Laden before the raid that killed him, has been convicted of high treason and sentenced to a 33-year prison term!

If Pakistan were our ally and wanted to help us find bin Laden wouldn’t this guy have gotten a medal and a parade?  Of course, if Pakistan were our ally, bin Laden wouldn’t have been able to live for years in one of their military bastions.

This is the “ally” who has kept our supply routes into Afghanistan closed for the last six months and has been demanding a formal apology (as opposed to the expression of regret they’ve received) for the accidental death of some Pakistani border troops, plus a fee of $5,000 per truck (up from $250 a truck) for using their roads.

Since 9/11, we have given Pakistan $20 billion in aid.  We need to cut our budget?  Start there.

More Like a Thief in the Night

The fact that the President had to fly into Afghanistan when it was dark and fly out before it got light, that after ten-and-a-half years of fighting there, we can’t be confident of his safety either at Bagram Air Force Base or downtown Kabul, tells us more than his speech.

As for the new Strategic Partnership Agreement that promises we will do, um, something TBD in Afghanistan through 2024, it doesn’t say anything about how many forces we will provide or how much money we will spend.  It just says we won’t have permanent bases or soldiers on patrol after 2014, something many of us would like to see happen even sooner.

We can’t fix the corruption, we can’t establish a strong central government, we can’t fix the ethnic and tribal rivalries and feuds.  The Afghans have not proven themselves deserving of the investment in lives and treasure we have already expended for them, let alone more.

Al Qaeda has moved on, to Pakistan, to Yemen, to Somalia.  We should too.  The Taliban understands that if they mess with us again, we can always go back.

The Futility of Afghanistan

We all read about the coordinated Taliban suicide attacks in Kabul and three other Afghan cities on April 15.  But you had to read almost to the end of a long article about Pakistan two weeks later* to find this:

“Officials have also identified a possible intelligence gap.  Ethnic infighting at the top of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, may have resulted in key people failing to pass on information that could have helped derail the attacks.”

So after a decade of fighting there, we still haven’t secured the top ranks of their intelligence agency not to work against us.  Time to go, people.

*  “U. S. Talks Fail As Pakistanis Seek Apology,” Declan Walsh, Eric Schmitt, Steven Lee Myers, NYT

Mitt and bin Laden

In response to the Obama campaign’s questioning whether Mitt would have authorized the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Mitt is now saying that “of course” he would have, nothing to see here folks, move on.

But when you go back to the positions each candidate took in the primaries before the 2008 general, you find ample evidence to doubt Mitt.

In August 2007, Obama said, “If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”

A couple of days later, Mitt attacked that position as wrong and specifically said he would not do a unilateral raid into Pakistan:  “I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours.”

Would Mitt have gotten bin Laden?  Based on the record, I would say, “Of course not.”