Awful, utterly, utterly awful.
That’s basically what happened two years ago. I remember the incident, and I knew immediately that Tony Blair intervened to stop the investigation into Prince Bandar.
Both Britain and America have a great weakness when it comes to Saudi Arabia. To put it crudely, they’ve got us by our balls. Not only do we import most of our oil from them, but we rely on them for most of the counterterrorism intelligence. Furthermore, because of those two issues, we show no anger towards Saudi Arabia for funding the religious schools that taught Bin Laden’s ideology. We were not allowed to question the Bin Laden family (which was whisked away from America whilst American planes were grounded in the days after 9/11). Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Not only that, but we are the providers for most of Saudi Arabia’s $27 billion dollar military budget, making it the most powerful nation in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia may be doing well for itself, but it is coming at a great cost on our end. What do we get out of this deal with them? More consumption. More dependence. More reliance. Less independence. This is not an equal partnership.
Barack Obama on John McCain and McCain’s new, constant, negative attack ads:
I don’t pay attention to John McCain’s ads, although I do notice that he doesn’t seem to have anything very positive to say about himself, does he?
John McCain is trying to make the 2008 election a referendum on Barack Obama. But it is also a referendum on John McCain. Which leader would you support? One who spends most of his time in constant negative attacks who rarely speaks of what he stands for? Or one who is trying to change things for the better? That’s what the 2008 election is about.
Seem to believe the same things.
Via Daily Kos
Matthew Yglesias comments on the new report from the RAND group that says essentially that you cannot defeat terrorism through war but rather through law enforcement. Matt reminds us of the fact that this was what John Kerry said in 2004, which Bush pounced on, countering:
Some are skeptical that the war on terror is really a war at all. My opponent said, and I quote, “The war on terror is less of a military operation, and far more of an intelligence-gathering law enforcement operation.” I disagree—strongly disagree.
Of course Mr. Bush was wrong. As the RAND report states:
The United States can defeat al-Qaida if it relies less on force and more on policing and intelligence to root out the terror group’s leaders, a new study contends.
“Keep in mind that terrorist groups are not eradicated overnight,” said the study by the federally funded Rand research center, an organization that counsels the Pentagon.
Its report said that the use of military force by the United States or other countries should be reserved for quelling large, well-armed and well-organized insurgencies, and that American officials should stop using the term “war on terror” and replace it with “counterterrorism.”
“Terrorists should be perceived and described as criminals, not holy warriors, and our analysis suggests there is no battlefield solution to terrorism,” said Seth Jones, the lead author of the study and a Rand political scientist.
Based on an analysis of 648 terrorist groups that existed between 1968 and 2006, the report concluded that a transition to the political process is the most common way such groups end. But the process, found in 43 percent cases examined, is unlikely with al-Qaida, which has a broad, sweeping agenda, the report said.
The second most common way that terrorist groups end, seen in about 40 percent of the cases, is through police and intelligence services apprehending or killing key leaders, Jones said. Police are particularly effective because their permanent presence in cities helps them gather information, he said.
By contrast, the report said, military force was effective in only 7 percent of the cases.
Jones, in an interview, said, “Even where we found some success against al-Qaida, in Pakistan and Iraq, the military played a background or surrogate role. The bulk of the action was taken by intelligence, police and, in some cases, local forces.”
“We are not saying the military should not play a role,” he said. “But unless you are talking about large insurgencies, military force should not be the tip of the spear.”
This isn’t what just John Kerry was saying in 2004. This is what Democrats have been saying. This is what I’ve been saying. Military force was effective in ONLY SEVEN PERCENT of the cases they studied. That’s pitiful. That’s because military actions tend to create MORE terrorism, not less.
This is totally awesome. The good folks at WordPress have created an application that allows users to create and edit their blog posts on the iPhone. The potential in the design of the iPhone is, at this point limitless.
Anne Applebaum writes that Europe should basically take the lead on the issues of the world today that America finds a top priority. But, well, Ms. Applebaum, what if Europe doesn’t see them as priorities? Why should they take the lead when they don’t see a need? See, Ms. Applebaum, you believe in the rightness of the cause of the Bush administration’s fight wherever they may go, but alas, that may actually not be the way we should go. Europe would prefer other priorities.
America has a choice to make. Find out why Europe doesn’t see threats the same way, or continue undermining its own strength following some of the worst possible advice ever given. Those two are not the only options. But that would be a start.
James Vega at the Democratic Strategist highlights why the Surge really hasn’t succeeded, as I’ve said all along.
Female bombers struck Kurdish political protesters in Kirkuk and Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad on Monday morning, leaving at least 61 people dead and 238 wounded in one of the bloodiest sequences of attacks in Iraq this year.
It’s just not looking good. And after five and a half years of our soldiers being there, it should seem clear to everybody that their presence simply does not solve the problem, and is most certainly not worth the cost to have them there. It is time to leave Iraq.
The bigger question for Mormons is this. Kyle Sampson was supposedly a Bishop of his ward at the time he was violating the law and politicizing the DOJ. Then he testified to the Congress and said “I don’t remember” about 122 times! It would seem he was not honest with his fellow men.
Continue Reading Monica Goodling and Kyle Sampson Broke The Law…
George W. Bush will leave his successor record deficits. Meanwhile Bill Clinton left his successor a budget surplus.
Michael Cohen at Democracy Arsenal gives the quotes:
John McCain, July 25th 2008, Columbus Dispatch:
Anyone, any rational observer who observes Iraq knows that the surge has succeeded.
John McCain, July 25th 2008, Columbus Dispatch::
I always said that we would be withdrawing when the surge succeeded, and that’s basically what Maliki has said as well. Certainly the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and General Petraeus are highly regarded by the American people. They say that Sen. Obama’s dates for withdrawal would be very dangerous and we could lose everything that we’ve won.
So the surge succeeded already but we will be withdrawing when the surge succeeded…huh. That means that US troops should begin leaving NOW! After all, as Mr. McCain says, ‘the surge has succeeded.’
Michael Cohen writes:
Could it be that while the surge has improved the security situation it hasn’t led to sustainable political and security improvements, which is of course precisely Obama’s argument? Now it is a more than defensible argument to say that we should stay in Iraq to ensure that the recent security gains translate into tangible political gains (and of course Obama takes the opposite position, which is that Iraqi leaders won’t carry out comprehensive political reforms until American troops begin to leave).
But that’s not McCain’s argument; he is saying that Obama can’t be trusted — and is playing politics — because he refuses to acknowledge the success of the surge. But which one is it Senator; if the surge has succeeded why aren’t we leaving Iraq?
A most excellent question.
That’s the argument made by conservative Andrew Klavan in the Wall Street Journal.
The true complexity arises when we must defend these values in a world that does not universally embrace them — when we reach the place where we must be intolerant in order to defend tolerance, or unkind in order to defend kindness, or hateful in order to defend what we love.
When heroes arise who take those difficult duties on themselves, it is tempting for the rest of us to turn our backs on them, to vilify them in order to protect our own appearance of righteousness. We prosecute and execrate the violent soldier or the cruel interrogator in order to parade ourselves as paragons of the peaceful values they preserve. As Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon says of the hated and hunted Batman, “He has to run away — because we have to chase him.”
That’s real moral complexity. And when our artistic community is ready to show that sometimes men must kill in order to preserve life; that sometimes they must violate their values in order to maintain those values; and that while movie stars may strut in the bright light of our adulation for pretending to be heroes, true heroes often must slink in the shadows, slump-shouldered and despised — then and only then will we be able to pay President Bush his due and make good and true films about the war on terror.
If you violate your values, is it not true that you no longer maintain those values? If you break the law, you no longer keep the law, so why would anyone argue that you still are capable of maintaining values you yourself violate? It is impossible. But that’s what conservatives would want you to believe. It is utterly reprehensible. It is truly astonishing that those who would call themselves Christians would believe this kind of crap but they do.
You cannot defend tolerance with intolerance. You cannot defend kindness with unkindness. You cannot defend love with hate. It is impossible. The moment you become intolerant, you are no longer tolerant. The moment you become unkind, you are no longer kind. The moment you become hateful, you are no longer full of love. To argue otherwise is dumb, put simply.
How exactly does someone make such a stupid argument on the venerable Wall Street Journal?
President Talibani rejects the elections law.
Oh well, guess we’ll have to keep the troops there forever.
This is a clear choice that the American people have. I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.
Way to take the high road dude. But it is par for the course with a Republican.
but this time, McCain may start to lose his base (er, the Media). Joe Klein is not happy.
This is the ninth presidential campaign I’ve covered. I can’t remember a more scurrilous statement by a major party candidate. It smacks of desperation. It renews questions about whether McCain has the right temperament for the presidency. How sad.
I’m glad to see an awakening among the media, but dude, Mr. Klein, this is really par for the course. You don’t recall the many instances of Bush and Cheney say that if you vote for Kerry, you’re voting for Al-Qaeda?
You know, this was the path Clinton took…It’s nice to see the Bush administration come around after eight wasteful years.
Senator John McCain is running for the White House on what he calls his “strong foreign policy” experience. He should therefore know a few things about foreign policy. He should know more than I. While I studied international politics at BYU and got a good grade, I haven’t worked in the field like Senator McCain has. He is a Senator. He is on the Armed Services Committee. He travels the world. He speaks on the topics at hand. He ought to know quite well what is what. But, well, he doesn’t really. As we will see, Senator McCain was asked by CBS’s Katie Couric the following (as linked at Obsidian Wings):
“Couric: Senator McCain, Sen. Obama says, while the increased number of U.S. troops contributed to increased security in Iraq, he also credits the Sunni awakening and the Shiite government going after militias. And says that there might have been improved security even without the surge. What’s your response to that?
In response, Mr. McCain said:
McCain: I don’t know how you respond to something that is such a false depiction of what actually happened. Colonel McFarlane (phonetic) was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening. I mean, that’s just a matter of history. Thanks to General Petraeus, our leadership, and the sacrifice of brave young Americans. I mean, to deny that their sacrifice didn’t make possible the success of the surge in Iraq, I think, does a great disservice to young men and women who are serving and have sacrificed.
They were out there. They were protecting these sheiks. We had the Anbar awakening. We now have a government that’s effective. We have a legal system that’s working, although poorly. And we have progress on all fronts, including an incredible measure of security for the people of Iraq. There will still be attacks. Al Qaeda’s not defeated. But the progress has been immense. And to not recognize that, and why it happened, and how it happened, I think is really quite a commentary.
Couric: A commentary on what?
McCain: That Sen. Obama does not understand the challenges we face. And … not understand the need for the surge. And the fact that he did not understand that, and still denies that it has succeeded, I think the American people will make their judgment.”
See, Senator McCain’s campaign right now is based on one last trump card that they have: Senator McCain was right about the Surge, and Senator Obama was not. That’s all McCain has. Alas, his trump card is not really trump after all. See the problem here is that Colonel MacFarlane did NOT meet with the Anbar sheiks AFTER the Surge began, as Mr. McCain states that he did. He in fact met with the Anbar sheiks in September 2006. The Surge was first introduced to Americans by Mr. Bush in January 2007 and did not really begin until February 2007!
The problem with McCain’s statement — as Obama’s campaign quickly noted — was that the awakening got under way before President Bush announced in January 2007 his decision to flood Iraq with tens of thousands of additional U.S. troops to help combat violence.
In March 2007, before the first of the additional troops began arriving in Iraq, Col. John W. Charlton, the American commander responsible for Ramadi, a city in Anbar province, said the newly friendly sheiks, combined with an aggressive counterinsurgency strategy and the presence of thousands of new Sunni police on the streets, had helped cut attacks in the city by half in recent months.
A spokesman for McCain did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.
The surge was announced on Jan. 10, 2007. That’s four months after the “tipping point” at which the Anbar Awakening really got under way, and three and a half months after the briefing at which McFarland described the success of the Awakening. McFarland and his troops left Anbar in February of 2007 (pdf; p. 51), before any of the surge troops would have arrived. So I don’t see how this could possibly be true: “Colonel McFarlane (phonetic) was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening.” Unless, as Matt Yglesias notes, McCain credits the surge with enabling time travel.
Spencer Ackerman says that McCain’s statement is “either a lie or professional malpractice for a presidential candidate who is staking his election on his allegedly superior Iraq judgment.” Ilan Goldenberg is even harsher:
“This is not controversial history. It is history that anyone trying out for Commander and Chief must understand when there are 150,000 American troops stationed in Iraq. It is an absolutely essential element to the story of the past two years. YOU CANNOT GET THIS WRONG. Moreover, what is most disturbing is that according to McCain’s inaccurate version of history, military force came first and solved all of our problems. If that is the lesson he takes from the Anbar Awakening, I am afraid it is the lesson he will apply to every other crisis he faces including, for example, Iran.
This is just incredibly disturbing. I have no choice but to conclude that John McCain has simply no idea what is actually happened and happening in Iraq.”
How could John McCain, who is running as a foreign policy expert get something so simple as this so wrong? See the problem is that the Anbar Awakening had nothing at all to do with the Surge. So was the Surge, therefore, really necessary to the Anbar Awakening? No, not really. But McCain would rather have everyone think it did. But it is, alas, a lie.
Senator McCain claims he is an expert on foreign policy. But he is not. He is a dolt. And he is the Republican nominee.
Now, what is worse is that CBS, which ran this question to Mr. McCain did something even more stupid. They apparently cut his answer and pasted in an answer to a completely different question as the answer to this question! What the hell?!?!?! See the report below from Keith Olbermann.
The network showed viewers Couric’s question in full, but instead of airing McCain’s actual response — the one that showed McCain getting the basics of the surge backwards — CBS took a different answer to a different question and pasted it into the broadcast, leaving viewers with the impression that it was McCain’s actual response to Couric’s inquiry.
Someone needs to lose their job over this.
It’s curious, to put it mildly, on multiple levels.
Why would CBS News cover-up arguably the biggest candidate error of the entire presidential campaign?
Why would CBS News mix-and-match McCain’s responses to make him appear less incompetent?
Why would CBS News broadcast a question but not the answer to the question?
Why would CBS News post the entire actual interview online, making it easy for us to see their mischief?
Why would CBS News deliberately take the most newsworthy element of the interview, and leave it on the editing room floor?
Why didn’t Katie Couric hear McCain’s ridiculous answer, and ask a follow-up question seeking clarification?
On balance, McCain’s striking ignorance is clearly more important than CBS News’ journalistic malpractice. But it’s nevertheless hard to know what the network was thinking.
Frankly, it won’t happen. The Media is Mr. McCain’s base.
And yet here’s an article McFarland co-wrote which makes it clear that not only did the events he was involved with predate the surge, but he was out of Anbar by February 2007 — just as the first surge forces were arriving. The term “surge” doesn’t so much as appear in his account. Seth Colter Walls notes that McCain himself understood the chronology correctly at one point.
Meanwhile, as Keith Olbermann apparently noted in tonight’s broadcast, CBS (part of the vast media conspiracy that McCain believes is arrayed against him) handled McCain’s blunder by using misleading editing to cover it up: “CBS curiously, to say the least, left it on the edit room floor. It aired Katie Couric’s question, but in response, it aired part of McCain’s answer to the other question instead.” Sometimes things have to end up on the cutting room floor in television, but it seems to me that if you show video of a question being asked, you ought to cut to the interviewee answering that question not just show some other film. Certainly when you’ve got a candidate who’s made the idea that he’s super-knowledgeable about national security policy misstating the basic facts of the issue that seems noteworthy.
There should actually be some accounting at CBS over this, and the Media and Americans should rightly question John McCain’s soundness. If he can’t get something this simple down, how well will he do with more complicated matters? Or, more darkly, if he is trying to bamboozle Americans this bluntly, what is he going to do as president? He either knows that he is lying or he is a damn ignorant fool. I’m going with a combination of the two.
Ben Smith at Politico has what should be the iconic image contrast of the 2008 election.
Ladies and Gentlemen, your candidates for the future. It’s your choice which direction you want to go. Just remember, McCain is the “Property of #41, Hands Off!”
We’re not talking about words like “Floccinaucinihilipilification.” We’re talking about “Education.” A simple word. It’s not really that hard.
says that there is tension in the border between Iraq and Pakistan.
Asked by Diane Sawyer whether the “the situation in Afghanistan in precarious and urgent,” McCain responded: “I think it’s serious. . . . It’s a serious situation, but there’s a lot of things we need to do. We have a lot of work to do and I’m afraid it’s a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq/Pakistan border.”
Uh, Mr. McCain must be getting old. Here is a map of the region:
As you can see, Iraq does not border Pakistan. You have to go through Iran to get to Pakistan from Iraq. Now, granted, the question was about Afghanistan, and Mr. McCain was responding about Afghanistan, but com’on. This isn’t that hard.