Saturday, June 28, 2008

1434: The Year A Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Rennaissance

Click here to watch 1434 Video
Posted by Picasa

» Watch the video on 1434 - click the picture above!

This will blow your mind my friends! Believe me, if it sounds fantastic, it is. But Remember that Chinese history was expunged as the Ming dynasty turned inward and away from the world. Also remember that The Age of Exploration went forward with carbon dated pre-existing detailed maps of the world, including the Americas and the straights of Magellan. Where did they come from?

They came from the Chinese expeditions of 1421 which circumnavigated and mapped the entire coastal areas of the world.

I've looked into this for years now. It's true. Many professional historians remain sceptical, but they always do. Conclusive proof is subjective in history. The proof is there though. Read the books, 1421 & 1434 and see for yourself. Native American history has always told that the Chinese were here long before the Europeans. And they stayed. Just think of how much of history will have to be re written once these developments become accepted as truth, which they are - be sure to check out the 1434 Home Page...T

View 1434 Video Source

How George Washington's Savvy Won the Day

The author states: "George Washington had won the lasting support of America's civilian authorities, to whom he returned all power at war's end. Hearing of that gesture, Britain's King George III said that Washington would be the greatest man in history if it was true. It would be only slightly less praise to say that Washington's surrender of power was just part of what made him the first great leader in the modern world."

Read the referenced book if you will, it is excellent, and really fleshes out WHY Washington was such a great and historic figure...T

Idolatry has done George Washington a disservice. His popular image as the stolid icon of republican virtues—given earliest form in the cherry tree and other apocryphal stories of Parson Weems—obscures not only the complexity of the man but also his genius for leadership. Ripening fully in his presidency, Washington's gifts first found expression on the battlefields of the American Revolution. As commander in chief of the Continental Army, the Virginia planter and veteran of the French and Indian War did not simply best the world's most formidable fighting machine. He set the template for a new, truly American style of command—a style rightly called leadership.

Yet, says historian Thomas Fleming, author of Washington's Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge, "people still don't get Washington." Thanks largely to hagiography and, until recently, a neglect of military history by scholars, most Americans remain unaware of Washington's less obvious strengths, as well as those flaws that made his achievements all the more remarkable.

Political skills. "The fact that he was successful against the best combat officers of his day didn't mean that he was the best commander ever," says Mount Holyoke College historian Joseph Ellis, author of His Excellency: George Washington. Washington particularly struggled, Ellis says, when he couldn't see the whole battlefield, devising plans that were often too complicated for execution. Even in the successful surprise attack on Trenton in December 1776, only one of three elements of Washington's force made it across the Delaware River on Christmas Day. But many of the greatest generals in history, including Napoleon, did not in the end do what Washington did: "He won," says Ellis. "And he won because he understood the war, the big picture, including the political context."

...Fighting force. Washington's vision was vindicated in the winter of 1776-77, as his Army, often working with militias, scored quick-hitting successes at Trenton, Princeton, and other parts of New Jersey. Washington even made the best of a painful setback after the British conquest of the nation's capital, Philadelphia. Settling in for a hard winter at Valley Forge, Pa., Washington built a distinctively American fighting force even while exercising political skills that allowed him to overcome insubordinate rivals in the Army and to mollify critics in the Continental Congress.

...The Army that came out of Valley Forge would quickly prove itself in the Battle of Monmouth, exhibiting even greater discipline and courage than it had shown in the earlier New Jersey battles. If ultimate victory and independence were still far from assured, Washington had forged an Army that mirrored his own blend of prudence and daring.

Just as important, he had won the lasting support of America's civilian authorities, to whom he returned all power at war's end. Hearing of that gesture, Britain's King George III said that Washington would be the greatest man in history if it was true. It would be only slightly less praise to say that Washington's surrender of power was just part of what made him the first great leader in the modern world.
Full article

Friday, June 27, 2008

Obama or Il Duce?

That's pretty much it: the Manchurian Candidate & Il Duce...T
Posted by Picasa

Krauthammer Rips Obama a New One!

Charles Krauthammer takes on B. Hussein Osama today in his Washington Post Op-Ed column, "The Ever-Malleable Mr. Obama".

Here's some excerpts, enjoy!...T

"The truth about Obama is uncomplicated. He is just a politician (though of unusual skill and ambition). The man who dared say it plainly is the man who knows Obama all too well. 'He does what politicians do,' explained Jeremiah Wright.. . . Not a flinch. Not a flicker. Not a hint of shame. By the time he's finished, Obama will have made the Clintons look scrupulous."
Full Article

The Real New Deal

Obama has been using the "Blue Eagle" of the new deal era NRA as his podium's seal up till this week, when even the sycophantic press turned against it. Let's take a look at the real legacy of the new deal, of it's attempts to impose fascist ideology on the USA, and it's attempts to hijack the US constitution. If not for WWII, FDR would have gone down in history as the worst president in the history of this nation...T

...The seal (of the Blue Eagle) was the public symbol for one of Franklin D. Roosevelt's greatest policy disasters. (This was the) emblem of the National Recovery Administration, FDR's attempt to beat the Depression by collectivizing the U.S. economy.

The NRA was the centerpiece of the "Hundred Days", FDR's whirlwind law-passing spree following his inauguration. It was the work of "brain trusters" Rexford G. Tugwell and Adolf Berle, adapted directly from Mussolini's "corporative" system.

The NRA attempted to "organize" the U.S. economy from the largest corporations to the smallest Mom n' Pop store. Businesses were encouraged to sign up with the proviso that they would be able to write their own rules for their industries, effectively turning them into cartels. Member businesses were allowed to place the Blue Eagle in their windows, along with the slogan "We Do Our Part".

Businesses were required to pay minimum wage, abandon child labor, and adapt wage and price controls. As for businesses that held out... well, the NRA was run by an ex-general, Hugh Johnson, who, to put it kindly, was not Colin Powell. Johnson took the Mussolini connection to heart, declaring all businesses not displaying the Blue Eagle to be "enemies of the people", and encouraging the public to boycott them, if not worse.

But it was even more dangerous for companies that signed up. Businessmen were jailed for breaking NRA rules, and goon squads roamed the streets of Manhattan looking for violators The story is told in detail in Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascim. The Secret History of the American Left and Amity Shlae's The Forgotten Man. A New History of the Great Depression. How this nonsense was supposed to end the Depression is anybody's guess. In short order, it ran afoul of the Supreme Court, which on May 27, 1935, found the NRA illegal in Schechter Poultry Corporation v. United States, the so-called "sick chicken" case. The Court struck down the NRA as an unconstitutional extension of executive power. Roosevelt was forced to drastically modify his plans for the economy. (Not to mention waste the next two years on his notorious "court-packing"scheme.)

But the major point as far as the Obama campaign is concerned lies in the fact that the NRA -- along with all of FDR's collectivist policies -- was a complete failure. Centralization and planning gave the economy a brief kick, but one that lasted only months. By 1937 unemployment was higher than it had been when Roosevelt took office four years earlier. By the New Year's he was reduced to pleading to his cabinet, "Won't somebody tell me what to do?" It required WW II to pull the U.S. out of its tailspin.

So what kind of campaign picks one of its party's greatest disasters for use as a symbol? Seeking a connection with Roosevelt is understandable, but why not the Roosevelt of the war years, rather than the bumbling and inept rookie president of the 30s? The answer is probably simple ignorance. In which case Obama is lucky that the media (similarly uninformed) missed the connection and spared him that much extra adverse commentary. But he's relying all too often on luck to ease the way for him.

The Hungarian-American historian John Lukacs (no relation to the Marxist theoretician Georg Lukacs) has warned us on several occasions to be careful how we select our symbols. Symbols, Lukacs tells us, mean something because we think they do, and they tend to have lives of their own. If we select one that reflects badly on us, or one whose meaning can betray us, it can have repercussions all out of proportion to the actual source. (Curiously, one of the examples Lukacs gives also involves an eagle: the double-headed imperial eagle that fell to the ground at Austro-Hungarian emperor Karl's coronation in1916. Two years later, the empire was extinct, and Karl was the emperor of nobody.)

In choosing an emblem of arrogance, incompetence, and failure for his "seal", Obama has told us a number of things about himself that he probably would rather we didn't know. We should heed the warning.
Full Article

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Supreme Court Grants Terrorists U.S. Constitutional Rights

And Roosevelt, the messiah of the Left, imprisoned the ENTIRE west coast Japanese population for 4 years, without Habeus Corpus! Now, If there was a democrat in the presidency the court would never have reached this bizarre conclusion. Never in our history has a war been fought this way. Lincoln suspended Habeus Corpus during the civil War, and totally ignored Supreme Court decisions with impunity.

Now do you know why we need McCain to keep B. Insane Osama out of the White House?...T
Posted by Picasa

Change I Could Believe In

Now thats change!..T

One can advance arguments for drilling for oil in ANWR, off the continental shelf of several states, and for drilling for natural gas, mining oil shale, and developing cleaner coal technology. The basis for the arguments is simply that we already have the technology to take all those steps rather quickly and that taking those steps would allow the economy to grow, going a long way toward improving the lives of Americans, especially those lower on the economic ladder. It apparently it is only a a cliche headline to the naysayers that "the economy is bad; the poor hit hardest." Sometimes it's "women and children hit hardest." Or "African-Americans hit hardest." In any case, the truth is that policies which stifle the economy do hit hardest on the lower economic strata. Which makes one wonder why Democrats propose policies that hinder the economy, but that's another topic.

The anti-drilling arguments seem to be settling into several rather bizarre statements:

1) Even if we started exploring offshore now, it might take (7 or 10 or 25 or whatever number the naysayer wants to throw out) years to start producing the oil. To which the proper answer is THEN WE BETTER GET STARTED! YOU THINK IT WILL TAKE LESS TIME IF WE WAIT?

2) We should develop alternative energy sources. To which the proper answer is IF YOU THINK IT WILL TAKE A FEW YEARS TO GET OIL FROM THE CONTINENTAL SHELF, HOW LONG DO YOU THINK IT WILL TAKE TO DEVELOP SOURCES WE HAVEN'T EVEN INVENTED YET? BUT HEY, LET'S GET STARTED! Just don't stop drilling while we look for alternatives.

3) We should consider nuclear power. INDEED, BUT HOW LONG DO YOU WANT TO CONSIDER IT? HASN'T IT BEEN CONSIDERED ALREADY AND TRIED WITH GREAT SUCCESS? So let's stop "considering" and GET STARTED BUILDING THE PLANTS! If we find something better later, we can always stop building new nuke plants.

4) The base argument appears to be that, unless something will work immediately, we shouldn't do it. Does this strike you as logical? If that were a criterion, nothing humanity has ever done would have gotten started.

5) And then there's the TAX THE OIL COMPANIES PROFITS angle. Does it not strike people that there is already a tax on oil company profits? Does it not strike people that this is just an added oil company expense which drives up the price of gasoline and takes research and development money out of the oil companies, takes dividends out of the pockets of oil companies' investors, and is a brake on the economy and is part of the problem, not part of the solution? Does it not strike people that this has been tried before and was a disaster? Does it not strike people that government bureaucrats don't know anything wortwhile and effective to do with the money they have now? If government bureaucrats can solve a problem, they've kept it a secret for a long time.

6) And there's the Church of Global Warming fanatics, but that's a computer-model driven theory that has become less and less tenable. The whole solar system's been cranking up the thermometer a degree or two, it appears, and that's all due to the sun's output. The Earth is a part of a warming system, and we aren't the driver here. The sun's in the driver's seat. The global warming theory, along with the global cooling theory, the nuclear winter theory, and all the other catastrophic theories concocted over the past 50 years or so have been nothing but the handy theory du jour for those wishing to hinder America.


That's change I could believe in.
Full Article

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Barack Insane Osama

Or, should I say "Iraq Insane Osama"...T
Posted by Picasa


Exactly. We need to debate the extreme far left proposals Obama has already laid out, and stop obsessing about him being the Manchurian Candidate (which I'll grant he is). Excerpts...T

Quite simply, Obama would rather address his religious views and his optimism about America and his embrace of diversity than talk about his plans to raise taxes, let gasoline prices soar and socialize healthcare...

Consider his proposals:

• In effect, he would legislate a 60 percent tax bracket for upper-income Americans, killing all initiative and innovation. He’d raise the top bracket to 40 percent. He’d apply FICA taxes to all income, not just that under $100,000 as at present. So add 40 percent plus FICA’s 12.5 percent plus Medicare’s 2 percent plus state and local taxes averaging, after deduction, at 5-6 percent, and you have a 60 percent bracket.

• He would double the capital gains tax, saddling the 50 percent of Americans who own stock with dramatically higher taxes.

• He’d double the dividend tax, hitting elderly coupon-clippers now retired and depending on fixed incomes.

• He wants to cover 12 million illegal immigrants with federally subsidized health insurance, dramatically driving up costs and forcing federal rationing of healthcare. As in the U.K. and Canada, you will not be permitted certain medical procedures if the bureaucrats decide you are not worth it.
• He proposes requiring Homeland Security operatives to notify terror suspects that they are under investigation within seven days of starting the investigation

• He says that unless they can establish that there is “probable cause to believe that a certain individual is linked to a specific terrorist group,” Homeland Security cannot seize his documents and search his business. The current standard is only that the search be “relevant” to a terror investigation.

• In effect, he would legislate a 60 percent tax bracket for upper-income Americans, killing all initiative and innovation. He’d raise the top bracket to 40 percent. He’d apply FICA taxes to all income, not just that under $100,000 as at present. So add 40 percent plus FICA’s 12.5 percent plus Medicare’s 2 percent plus state and local taxes averaging, after deduction, at 5-6 percent, and you have a 60 percent bracket.

He does not oppose $5-per-gallon gasoline but only says that he wishes there had been a more “gradual adjustment” to the higher prices.

Obama can talk about the Rev. Wright and flag lapel pins and his wife’s love of America all day long. But what he resists is a specific discussion of his own plans for our country. That’s the discussion he fears and he avoids. And it’s the discussion John McCain must force upon him if he is to have any realistic chance of winning the election.
Full Article

Sunday, June 22, 2008

History will say that we misunderestimated George W Bush

As the author, one of the preeminent historians of our time, phrases it - the time will come when George W Bush will be able to say what Lord Salisbury called the four cruelest yet sweetest words in the English language: "I told you so."

Told you that this war has been the greatest triumph, with the fewest casualties, in the history of warfare.

That the turning of the drive by press so radically left wing is the untold story of our decade, and has consequences I can only shudder at considering.

That Bush's refusal to fight back against the outlandish charges leveled against him post 2004 reelection (He caused hurricane Katrina, the Iraq victory was a "Civil War", the economy is in "recession" etc..) rapidly accelerated this degeneration to radical leftist press institutions.

That if Obama is elected and the Dem's get to magic number 60 in the senate, then all political dissent will be silenced. The Democrats' have plans to destroy talk radio, not just with the Equal Time Rule but also by requiring liberals to be appointed to station boards of directors and to top positions in station management - Read about them here -

McCain must be elected.

G.W. Bush has been a great, not good president, and will remembered in history for his monumental accomplishments...T

As he leaves the White House at the end of his second term, the President has a poll rating of only 23 per cent, and is widely disliked and even despised. His foreign policy has been judged a failure, especially in view of the long, painful, costly war that he declared, which is still not over.

He doesn't get on with his own party's presidential candidate, who is clearly distancing himself, and had lost many of his closest friends and staff to scandals and forced resignations. The New Republic, a hugely influential political magazine, writes that his historical reputation will be as bad as that of President Harding, the disastrous president of the Great Depression.

I am writing, of course, about Harry S Truman, generally regarded today as one of the greatest of all the 43 presidents, and the man who set the United States on the course that ended decades later in the defeat of Communism.

If the West wins the modern counterpart of that struggle, the War Against Terror, historians will look back in amazement at the present unpopularity of George W Bush, and marvel at it quite as much as we now marvel at the 67 per cent disapproval rates for Truman throughout 1952.

Presidents are seldom remembered for more than one or two things; the rest slip away into a haze of historical amnesia. With Kennedy it was the Bay of Pigs and his own assassination, with Johnson the Great Society and Vietnam, with Nixon it was opening up China and the Watergate scandal, and so on.

George W Bush will be remembered for his responses to 9/11 in Afghanistan and Iraq, but since neither of those conflicts has yet ended in victory or defeat, it is far too early categorically to assume - as left-wingers, anti-war campaigners and almost all media commentators already do - that his historical reputation will be permanently down in the doldrums next to poor old Warren Harding's.

I suspect that historians of the future will instead see Bush's decision to insist upon a "surge" of reinforcements being sent into Iraq, combined with a complete change of anti-insurgency tactics as configured by General Petraeus, as the moment when the conflict was turned around there, in the West's favour.

No one - least of all Bush himself - denies that mistakes were made in the early days after the (unexpectedly early) fall of Baghdad, and historians will quite rightly examine them. But once the decades have put the stirring events of those years into their proper historical context, four great facts will emerge that will place Bush in a far better light than he currently enjoys.

The overthrow and execution of a foul tyrant, Saddam Hussein; the liberation of the Afghan people from the Taliban; the smashing of the terrorist networks of al-Qa'eda in that country and elsewhere and, finally, the protection of the American people from any further atrocities on US soil since 9/11, is a legacy of which to be proud.

While of course every individual death is a tragedy to the bereaved families, these great achievements have been won at a cost in human life a fraction the size of any past world-historical struggle of this magnitude.

The number of American troops killed and wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan is equivalent to the losses they endured - for a nation only a little over half the size in the mid-Forties - capturing a single island from the Japanese in the Pacific War.

British losses of 103 killed over seven years in Afghanistan bears comparison to a quiet weekend on the Western Front in the Great War, or the numbers the Army loses in traffic accidents in peacetime. History can lend a wider overall perspective to what are nonetheless, of course, immeasurably sad events.

History will also shine an unforgiving light on those ludicrous conspiracy theories that claim that the Iraq War was fought for any other reason than to implement the 14 UN resolutions that Saddam that had been flouting for 13 years.

The CIA and MI6 believed, like almost every other intelligence agency in the world, that Saddam had WMD, and the "Harmony" documents seized and translated since the fall of his regime make it abundantly clear that he was also supporting almost every anti-Western terrorist organisation imaginable.

Historians will appreciate how any War Against Terror that allowed Saddam to remain in place would have been an absurd travesty.

When the rise of al-Qa'eda is considered by historians like Philip Bobbitt and William Shawcross, it will be President Clinton's repeated refusal to act effectively in the 1990s, rather than President Bush's tough response after 9/11, that will be held up as culpable.

Judging by the rise in the value of the Iraqi dinar, the huge drop in the number of Iraqi deaths in the insurgency, the number of provinces now cleansed of al-Qa'eda, and the level of arms confiscations by the Iraqi Army in Sadr City, the new American "clear and hold" tactics have succeeded far better than the cynics ever thought possible even 12 months ago.
Give Iraq five, ten or twenty years, and Bush's decision to undertake the surge - courageously taken in the face of all bien pensant and "expert" opinion on both sides of the Atlantic - will rank alongside some of Harry Truman's great decisions of 1945-53.
If that happens, the time will come when George W Bush will be able to say what Lord Salisbury called the four cruellest yet sweetest words in the English language: "I told you so."
Full article in new window

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Iraq in Review: Is there anything left of the antiwar Left’s criticisms of the Iraq war?

Not to beat a dead horse here, but, well, what the hell! VDH devastates the remnants of the antiwar left and shows, that for all who care to see the results clearly, the war has been a spectacular success, and George Bush a great, not just good, president...T

Many commentators on Iraq had no strong ideas about the wisdom of removing Saddam Hussein, but often predicated their evolving views on the basis of whether we were perceived as winning or losing — and later made the necessary and often fluid adjustments. So in light of the changing pulse of the battlefield, it is time once again to examine carefully a few of the now commonplace critiques of the Iraq war.

1. We took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan by going into Iraq, thereby allowing the Taliban to regain the advantage.

Any two-theater war can result in less resources allotted to one of the two fronts. But such multiple-front wars, whether in World War II or the Cold War, have never stymied the United States military. More importantly, if we are truly in a global war against Islamic extremists — as al Qaeda itself reminded us when it announced that Iraq was the key front in their jihad against infidel crusaders — then the problem is not necessarily fighting the insurgents in Iraq, but whether it is a theater conducive to our aims and resources — and can be won.

In other words, Iraq simply upped the ante of a larger war, promising disaster if we lost, and enormous advantages if we won. Progress in Iraq is already having positive effects in Afghanistan, where an experienced American counterinsurgency force is fighting extremists who know that their kindred are on the verge of losing militarily and politically in Iraq, and are afraid that the same bitter calculus now applies to them.

In the first years, the odds were with the terrorists — given indigenous Muslim local populations, the hostile neighborhood of a Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, and anti-war fervor at home and abroad. But once the U.S. military defeated al Qaeda in Anbar, the population turned on Islamic terrorists, and the elected Iraqi government gained stature, then Islamists in and out of Iraq suffered a terrible defeat.

We learned to fight a war of counterinsurgency and win hearts and minds far from home; they lost an insurgency — and with it the support of the local and once naturally sympathetic Muslim population. Note that suddenly journalists, intelligence analysts, and politicians are struck by al Qaeda’s implosion, as the Muslim street turns on radical Islamists, who themselves are torn apart by internal ideological schisms.

While many critics remain too heavily invested in antiwar positions staked out between 2003–7 to cite the war as a contributory cause, the obvious catalyst for al Qaeda’s fiasco is its terrible performance in Iraq. Remember, if Americans adjusted their own support for the war on their perceptions of the success or failure of the U.S. military, why wouldn’t millions in the Middle East do the same with radical Islamists like al Qaeda, whose fortunes on the battlefield have only gone from bad to worse?

2. Bush lied about the war and entered it under the false circumstances of fears of WMD and Iraqi ties to al Qaeda.

Bush erred in focusing on WMDs when the Senate and House approved over 20 writs for war, all of them as valid now as they were in October 2002. That said, it is hard to find a single prominent congressional critic of the war who has made the case that the administration itself altered intelligence information, doctored reports, or had substantially different assessments than those provided to Congress or offered up by foreign governments. The reason recent critics of the war such as Sen. Rockefeller are utterly unconvincing in their allegations of administration malfeasance is that the record shows that they themselves had access to the same information, and often outdid the President in their prewar rhetoric and saber-rattling about Saddam.

But again, the battlefield, rightly or wrongly, colors these controversies. In a world in which there is no longer a Saddam Hussein (who would now have had his hands on trillions of dollars in oil revenue), a Libyan WMD program, and Dr. Khan’s nuclear export business, the proliferation issue is becoming less contentious. (If one were to believe the National Intelligence Estimate, Iran ceased its weapons-grade nuclear track opportunely right after Saddam’s capture). Since 2003, thousands of Islamic extremists and al Qaeda’s notables have been killed, and the organization routed and discredited; it is hard to see how Iraq has not had positive effects in curbing proliferation and damaging the organization that was responsible for 9/11. Moreover, disputes about Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s post-Afghanistan odyssey, assorted terrorists in Saddam’s Baghdad in 2003, or al Qaeda in Kurdistan during Saddam’s rule become less contentious with the knowledge that al Qaeda, between 2003–7, tried to win, and then lost, Iraq.

3. Mistakes in Iraq were legion and irreversible.It is better to see such controversies in terms of long- and short-term consequences.

Examine the two most discussed — the Iraqi army and troop levels. Disbanding the Iraqi army without providing temporary financial support for young males with military skills was disastrous. Yet in the long-term, building a new army without tens of thousands of hard-core Baathists — as was true of the de-Nazification program with German army in 1946–7 — offered a greater chance for eventual success.

Did we send too few troops? Apparently we had enough manpower to take out Saddam, which we did brilliantly in three weeks — a force determined partly in reaction to the first Gulf War, when current critics then alleged that we had needlessly sent over far too many troops, both our own and those of the unwieldy coalition.

Evaluating the surge is more complex, since in a vast theater the size of Iraq, an increase of a little more than 20 percent in troop strength probably does not per se win wars. We forget now that many supporters of the surge were calling for 80,000-100,000 more troops in 2004–7. The 30,000 troops was a compromise figure, given our commitments elsewhere.

As important as the 30,000 reinforcements were, just as critical were three other factors associated with it: a signal to both Iraqi friends and enemies that we were staying on and fighting to win; a radical change in tactics from counterterrorism based in compounds to counterinsurgency intended to protect the local populations from terrorist reprisals; and the appointment of Gen. Petraeus as senior commander in Iraq who won the confidence of the Iraqis; silenced critics at home; and energized his officers on the ground with a new commitment to victory.

Again, there were tragic mistakes — focusing on WMDs as a sole casus belli, the pullback from the first siege of Fallujah, and bellicose Presidential rhetoric coupled with operational tentativeness — all of them regrettable, none of them fatal or comparable to the disastrous foul-ups of World War II, Korea, or Vietnam.

4. Democratization was naïve and bound to fail, given the realities of the tribal Middle East.

In fact, the promotion of constitutional government, however clumsy our efforts in 2003–4, was the only chance the U.S. had after the fall of Saddam Hussein to stabilize the country and hurt our terrorist enemies. No development infuriated al Qaeda more than U.S. support for elections and a constitutional Iraq that undercut the slander of a 21st-century crusade to annex the ancient caliphate, and invested the Iraqi people themselves in the fight against terrorism for their own future. Iraq is not comparable to the Hamas plebiscite, in that its elections were in concert with a ratified constitution and a result of an American-led effort to depose Saddam Hussein.

One of the most surreal developments of the war has been the Left’s caricature of American idealism and our support for a democratic Iraqi government — a brave group of reformers who have been more tarred and demonized by American politicians than have been their al Qaeda enemies.

Should we see a President Obama, and he realizes that Iraq is working, expect the Left to cease its criticisms of neocon democracy fantasies, and instead adopt Iraq’s democracy as yet more proof of Obama’s hope-and-change idealism in foreign policy.

5. The real winner of the war was Iran.

In the short-term, yes — Iran benefited from the removal of its traditional enemy, Baathist Iraq, and from the initial pan-Islamist rallying against the U.S. presence in Iraq. But in the long-term, should Iraq succeed, nothing will be more destabilizing to Iran than to have a free society next door, where Shiites say, write, and read what they wish, and do so in pluralistic fashion. Again, the ante has been raised. Should Iranian-backed militias lose in Iraq, the theocracy will have suffered a terrible defeat, at a time it diverts precious oil dollars to failed military adventures while its silenced population rations gas. Iran’s theocratic government must either incite a U.S. preemptive strike, or destroy Iraqi democracy — or it is doomed.

6. President Bush’s presidency was ruined in Iraq.

If we were to lose the war, then yes. But should we win, should a constitutional government stabilize, should al Qaeda keep unraveling, and should the hiatus of terrorist attacks against Americans at home and abroad continue, then historians will rank Bush in Trumanesque terms: a similarly orphaned presidency that ended disliked — even as it crafted a strategy to defeat global Islamic terror by taking the fight to the heart of the Middle East, while establishing proof of America’s good intentions by fostering constitutional government that offered Iraqis an alternative other than the usual Middle East non-choice of theocracy or autocracy.

Bush was terribly damaged by a series of poor spokesmen, his own bellicose soundbites of 2002–3, a series of tell-all defections of former intimates and officials, and an inability to cut U.S. consumption of imported petroleum. But that said, years from now, historians will look at the record and the results, not the present rhetoric, and his legacy could well be — “He kept us safe.”

7. Our military is nearly ruined and the war was never worth the cost.

We have paid a high price for our efforts with thousands of dead and wounded, and billions spent. But if the deterioration of al Qaeda continues, America is kept safe, and the Middle East at last has some alternative to the dismal autocratic norm — one that curbs future oil-fed extremism — then Iraq will be the most important American achievement since the end of the Cold War. If we lose or quit, and Iraq devolves along the lines of the badlands of Pakistan, then, yes, the losses were not worth it.

For all the wear and tear on our military, recruitments are up, we have developed the most sophisticated and experienced anti-insurgent force in the world, and we are just beginning to shake-up the entire military by promoting a new generation of brilliant officers who came of age in the cauldron of Iraq.

In the end, the U.S. military has achieved the near impossible by removing the worst government in the Middle East and fostering what has a real chance to become by far the best. In some sense, whether Iraq was worth the high cost depends on whether one thinks the present-day liberal and humane democracies in Europe, Japan, and Korea were likewise worth the past, and far more terrible, price that America paid in blood and treasure to secure their enduring freedom.
Full article in new window

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Make the Election About Iraq

Right on! Krauthammer nails it. Iraq isn't a quagmire, it never has been. Now, though, it's a spectacular success! We have won a stunning and total victory. It only remains for the truth to out. The biggest victory, with the fewest casualties, in the history of warfare...T

Friday, June 13, 2008; In his St. Paul victory speech, Barack Obama pledged again to pull out of Iraq. Rather than "continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians, . . . [i]t's time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future."

We know Obama hasn't been to Iraq in more than two years, but does he not read the papers? Does he not know anything about developments on the ground? Here is the "nothing" that Iraqis have been doing in the past few months:

1. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sent the Iraqi army into Basra. It achieved in a few weeks what the British had failed to do in four years: take the city, drive out the Mahdi Army and seize the ports from Iranian-backed militias.

2. When Mahdi fighters rose up in support of their Basra brethren, the Iraqi army at Maliki's direction confronted them and prevailed in every town — Najaf, Karbala, Hilla, Kut, Nasiriyah and Diwaniyah — from Basra to Baghdad.

3. Without any American ground forces, the Iraqi army entered and occupied Sadr City, the Mahdi Army stronghold.

4. Maliki flew to Mosul, directing a joint Iraqi-U.S. offensive against the last redoubt of al-Qaeda, which had already been driven out of Anbar, Baghdad and Diyala provinces.

5. The Iraqi parliament enacted a de-Baathification law, a major Democratic benchmark for political reconciliation.

6. Parliament also passed the other reconciliation benchmarks — a pension law, an amnesty law, and a provincial elections and powers law. Oil revenue is being distributed to the provinces through the annual budget.

7. With Maliki having demonstrated that he would fight not just Sunni insurgents (e.g., in Mosul) but Shiite militias (e.g., the Mahdi Army), the Sunni parliamentary bloc began negotiations to join the Shiite-led government. (The final sticking point is a squabble over a sixth cabinet position.)

The disconnect between what Democrats are saying about Iraq and what is actually happening there has reached grotesque proportions. Democrats won an exhilarating electoral victory in 2006 pledging withdrawal at a time when conditions in Iraq were dire and we were indeed losing the war. Two years later, when everything is changed, they continue to reflexively repeat their "narrative of defeat and retreat" (as Joe Lieberman so memorably called it) as if nothing has changed.

It is a position so utterly untenable that John McCain must seize the opportunity and, contrary to conventional wisdom, make the Iraq war the central winning plank of his campaign. Yes, Americans are war-weary. Yes, most think we should not have engaged in the first place. Yes, Obama will keep pulling out his 2002 speech opposing the war.

But McCain's case is simple. Is not Obama's central mantra that this election is about the future, not the past? It is about 2009, not 2002. Obama promises that upon his inauguration, he will order the Joint Chiefs to bring him a plan for withdrawal from Iraq within 16 months. McCain says that upon his inauguration, he'll ask the Joint Chiefs for a plan for continued and ultimate success.

The choice could not be more clearly drawn. The Democrats' one objective in Iraq is withdrawal. McCain's one objective is victory.
McCain's case is not hard to make. Iraq is a three-front war — against Sunni al-Qaeda, against Shiite militias and against Iranian hegemony — and we are winning on every front:

- We did not go into Iraq to fight al-Qaeda. The war had other purposes. But al-Qaeda chose to turn it into the central front in its war against America. That choice turned into an al-Qaeda fiasco: Al-Qaeda in Iraq is now on the run and in the midst of stunning and humiliating defeat.

- As for the Shiite extremists, the Mahdi Army is isolated and at its weakest point in years.

- Its sponsor, Iran, has suffered major setbacks, not just in Basra, but in Iraqi public opinion, which has rallied to the Maliki government and against Iranian interference through its Sadrist proxy.

Even the most expansive American objective — establishing a representative government that is an ally against jihadists, both Sunni and Shiite — is within sight.

Obama and the Democrats would forfeit every one of these successes to a declared policy of fixed and unconditional withdrawal. If McCain cannot take to the American people the case for the folly of that policy, he will not be president. Nor should he be.

Give the speech, senator. Give it now.
Full article in new window