Aug 24 2008

Petraeus on the war. Subtext: we REALLY need a grown-up in the White House

Q&A: Gen. David Petraeus on Leaving Iraq | Newsweek Iraq War |

we have to be very careful, and we are with respect to Anbar. We know [the insurgents are] trying to come back in … and we have picked up a number of those individuals who have tried to come back in. And of course they attacked and killed several of our marines and sheiks in the attack [June 26 in Karmah, near Fallujah]. But the fact is that the level of violence in Anbar is the lowest in our recorded history, literally, the lowest of any of our data.

Read it all. Hope he enters politics someday. He seems to tell the unvarnished truth.

h/t: Michael Yon


Aug 17 2008

Rick Warren, Obama and McCain, post mortem #1

Category: election 2008,McCain,Obama,politicsharmonicminer @ 9:19 am

Having expressed my concerns about how Rick Warren would handle the Obama/McCain interview, I have to express my appreciation that Warren played it all pretty straight.  I do wish he had asked more follow-up questions when he got vague answers (Obama on abortion, both on exactly what they’d do about Darfur, quite a few more, etc.), but some of that is perhaps just limitations of the format.

The follow up on abortion I wish I’d heard for Obama: “Well, can we agree that when the baby is out of the womb it gets full human rights?”  And then move it back a day, and ask again.  And then another day, and ask again.

But Warren did well, and deserves credit for doing a service.

Side note:  Obama is really afraid of directly confronting McCain in a give and take discussion, which is why he’s avoided all the townhall meetings McCain suggested.  With only three debates, Obama is obviously hoping he can somehow slide through without dealing directly with tough follow up questions, and just let his natural charm work on the audience.  So he liked this format a great deal, I’m sure…  and McCain still made him look unformed and unsure.

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Aug 16 2008

Rick Warren, Obama and McCain to talk

Category: abortion,election 2008,McCain,Obama,theologyharmonicminer @ 1:51 pm

On Friday evening, Hannity and Colmes on FOX (with Michael Steele subbing for Hannity) interviewed Richard Land and Tony Campolo in preparation for Rick Warren‘s Saturday interview with Obama and McCain at Saddleback Church.

Land was representing evangelicals from the Right, and Campolo from the Left. This is being written before Warren’s interviews of the candidates. I’ll probably follow up with further comments. But, to set the table:

Warren is a strong evangelical pastor and author who is known for adding more traditionally “liberal” concerns to his list of issues, including the environment and poverty, without releasing his traditional commitments. He is, I suppose, a moderate, politically. He signed the Evangelical Climate Initiative, (The entire statement is here.) If Warren has endorsed a candidate, I don’t know about it.

Land did NOT sign the Evangelical Climate Initiative. One presumes this is not because he does not care if the world melts, or boils. He is generally conservative on most social issues. He is generally not in favor of starving the poor, or bombing the capital of any nation that annoys the USA.

Campolo did NOT sign the Evangelical Climate Initiative. That could be because the second paragraph begins with this line, “We are proud of the evangelical community’s long-standing commitment to the sanctity of human life.” Campolo could not credibly sign such a statement, being a very-Left liberal Democrat, even though he probably does agree with the eco-panic expressed in the Evangelical Climate Initiative. He is a member of the Democratic Party platform committee for 2008.

Here is what I’ll be watching for:

Continue reading “Rick Warren, Obama and McCain to talk”

Aug 11 2008

Magneto for V.P.

Category: election 2008,humor,McCain,Obama,politicsharmonicminer @ 9:23 am

The suspense is simply killing me. Who are the vice-presidential candidates going to be? I can’t stand it. Why won’t they tell us? What are they hiding? Well… I think the nice people at io9 may have figured it out.

With the Democratic and Republican Party conventions just a few weeks away, speculation is running wild about who each candidate is likely to pick as his running mate. But who could measure up to the impossible standards that both Obama and McCain will be looking for in their potential Vice Presidents? No real person could have the faultless moral character, good looks and ineffable belief in truth, justice and the American way necessary to win over the voters – which is why we’re choosing from some of our favorite comic book politicians ……..

Read the speculations, and then make some of your own. Personally, I think McCain is going to choose Archie, and Obama is going to choose Veronica (wasn’t she one of the Obama girls?)…. but I could be wrong.

Then there is always the possibility that Obama will simply choose himself as vice-president. That way, if he has to leave office prematurely, he can still be president.  Of course, we’d have to have an origin story about how he became THE ONE by falling into a bucket of radioactive graveyard votes (that’s why he’s so concerned about radioactive waste).

I’m sure Stan Lee can make it all work out.

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Aug 07 2008

Obama’s speech to the Germans: trying to make sense of it

Category: election 2008,Europe,McCain,Obama,politics,White Househarmonicminer @ 9:00 am

Dennis Prager has written two articles analyzing Obama’s speech to the Germans:

First article

Second article

As this analysis makes clear, Obama employs just about every progressive-liberal cliche in the Left’s panoply of double-think and half-truth. He reveals himself to be exactly what objective measures say he is: the farthest Left senator in the United States Senate, and the farthest left nominee for President of the US in history. The main stream dinosaur media won’t report this, or do fair analyses of his speeches, preferring to talk about his tone and delivery, rather than his substance, such as it is.

Instead of holding Obama’s feet to the fire for ducking townhall style debates with John McCain, the media continue to swoon in abject worship at his hypnotic oratory…. when they aren’t throwing their underwear at the stage, like rock-star groupies everywhere. (Except for the French reporters, of course, who are reputed to “go commando”. I really don’t want to think about what they’re throwing at the stage.)

After all, we can’t force Obama to go off teleprompter… people might find out what he really thinks, and how well he thinks, neither of which is conducive to his being elected. Who knows, though: maybe a couple of extra-enthusiastic reporters’ boxers will accidentally land on the teleprompter, and Obama will have to speak off-script because the cameras are rolling.

I can hear it now: “America must cease acting only in its own self-interest and step up to its responsibilities to coordinate multilaterally with… with…. Fruit-Of-The-Loom… and…. and….. Joe Boxer….”

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Aug 05 2008

Christians, War and Obama

Category: election 2008,McCain,military,Obama,politics,White Househarmonicminer @ 9:26 am

The appeal of Obama to some Christians is his stance on war. He is not a pacifist… not considering his (ill-considered) threats to invade Pakistan and his plan to do a surge in Afghanistan. Yet, simply because he wants a complete, hurried pullout from Iraq, essentially regardless of consequences in Iraq, he seems to reap the “peacemaker award” from some Christians, just because they think he seems more reluctant to go to war… although how they square that with his plans for Pakistan is beyond me.

Nevertheless, here are two statements about the Christian requirement to wage just war.

The first is a straightforward “everyman” type of argument, that is quite clear, concise, and hard to deny.

The second is a very thorough treatment of the entire topic of just war, pacifism and jihad. It is the product of very careful scholarship, with references aplenty for every assertion it makes about Christian tradition. At the Amazon link, there are a couple of reviews. Be warned that the single very negative review commits all the failures to engage with the central arguments of the book that it accuses the author of the book of committing. I can only encourage you to read the book for yourself, and come to your own conclusions about the scholarly rigor and theological care the author employs. The writer of the very negative review does not want you to read the book. One wonders what he is afraid you might learn.

It is odd that the Left gives Obama “peacemaker” status because he chooses to fight different wars, to different degrees, than the Bush Administration.  It is, I suppose, more evidence of Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Jul 29 2008

Colonel Leo Thorsness, hero

Category: election 2008,McCain,military,politicsharmonicminer @ 9:34 am

Here’s a short excerpt, but you really need to read the whole thing to understand.
Power Line: Who is Leo Thorsness and why is he supporting John McCain?

Colonel Thorsness is one of the most remarkable men I have ever met. He is one of the few (fewer than 150) living Medal of Honor recipients. His name should be known and his story should be told. He may be one of the “great-souled” men at the summit of human excellence of whom Aristotle speaks in the Ethics. He deserves to be heard out.

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Jul 28 2008

Respect to our soldiers

Category: Afghanistan,election 2008,McCain,middle east,military,politics,terrorismharmonicminer @ 9:20 am

Soldiers recount deadly attack on Afghanistan outpost | Stars and Stripes

Walker and two other wounded soldiers distributed their ammo and grenades and passed messages.

The whole FOB was covered in dust and smoke, looking like something out of an old Western movie.

“I’ve never seen the enemy do anything like that,” said Walker, who was medically evacuated off the FOB in one of the first helicopters to arrive. “It’s usually three RPGs, some sporadic fire and then they’re gone … I don’t where they got all those RPGs. That was crazy.”

Two hours after the first shots were fired, Stafford made his way — with help — to the medevac helicopter that arrived.

“It was some of the bravest stuff I’ve ever seen in my life, and I will never see it again because those guys,” Stafford said, then paused. “Normal humans wouldn’t do that. You’re not supposed to do that — getting up and firing back when everything around you is popping and whizzing and trees, branches coming down and sandbags exploding and RPGs coming in over your head … It was a fistfight then, and those guys held ’ em off.”

Stafford offered a guess as to why his fellow soldiers fought so hard.

“Just hardcoreness I guess,” he said. “Just guys kicking ass, basically. Just making sure that we look scary enough that you don’t want to come in and try to get us.”

You need to click the link at the top, and read this whole thing. And you need to show respect to our fighting men. These men are not victims, they are heroes who choose to serve us, and they deserve the best we can give them, including the leadership we elect for them.

hat tip: blackfive

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Jul 25 2008

Obama can run from the facts: McCain won’t let him hide

Category: election 2008,Iraq,McCain,media,politics,terrorismharmonicminer @ 4:27 pm

Power Line: McCain Hits Hard

Before a military audience in Denver today, John McCain launched his strongest attack yet against Barack Obama. The attack was devastating because it is true. Here are some excerpts; McCain began by recalling the beginning of the surge:

Senator Obama and I also faced a decision, which amounted to a real-time test for a future commander-in-chief. America passed that test. I believe my judgment passed that test. And I believe Senator Obama’s failed.

We both knew the politically safe choice was to support some form of retreat. All the polls said the “surge” was unpopular. Many pundits, experts and policymakers opposed it and advocated withdrawing our troops and accepting the consequences. I chose to support the new counterinsurgency strategy backed by additional troops — which I had advocated since 2003, after my first trip to Iraq. Many observers said my position would end my hopes of becoming president. I said I would rather lose a campaign than see America lose a war. My choice was not smart politics. It didn’t test well in focus groups. It ignored all the polls. It also didn’t matter. The country I love had one final chance to succeed in Iraq. The new strategy was it. So I supported it. Today, the effects of the new strategy are obvious. The surge has succeeded, and we are, at long last, finally winning this war.

Continue reading “Obama can run from the facts: McCain won’t let him hide”

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Jul 22 2008

Jesus and Obama, Robbin’ in da ‘Hood

Category: election 2008,McCain,Obama,politics,theologyharmonicminer @ 3:22 pm

A fine bit of satire at A Vote for Barack Obama is a Vote for Jesus : Jesus Manifesto. It’s all pretty funny; here’s a sample.

A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for Jesus…not that I agree with everything he stands for. I mean, I am an independent sort of thinker. I am firmly convinced that God is neither a republican or a democrat. But Barack Obama transcends such distinctions. He flies high over such petty concerns on shimmering gossamer wings. Golden light emanates from his perfect form. His smiling eyes looking down upon me with a look that pierces my soul! I get lost in his smile, and long for one of his chiseled arms to hold me close while the other smites a damning blow to poverty and oppression.
I encourage you to vote for Obama too. I’m not saying that voting for McCain would be a sin. Nor am I saying that it would be a horrible, disgusting sin for you to not vote at all. But I am saying that to vote for Obama is to vote for Jesus. And to NOT vote for Obama would mean that you don’t love Jesus, the poor, or your own mother. To NOT vote for Jesus would be to render Jesus’ life and message meaningless. That’s all I’m saying.

Jesus… and Robin Hood ethics. I like it. It reminds me of all those scriptures of Jesus and his posse holding up rich people on the road and taking their money at sword point and giving it to poor people. Robbin’ in da ‘hood, but all for a good cause. Of course, later on in, oh, the 32nd chapter of Matthew, we read about Jesus getting the ear of King Herod, and getting him to have the soldiers take the money from the rich and give it to the poor. All perfectly legal.  Same difference, and saves Jesus and his posse from having to do it themselves.

Personally, I’m encouraging all twenty and thirty somethings to vote for Obama, since that will selfishly be best for me… he’ll make sure they pay for my retirement and medical care, even though I’ll have more money than them at the time.

The way I see it, I win either way. McCain gets elected, in which case things are better for my children, and their children… or Obama gets elected, and things are better for me. Who knows: maybe I”ll decide to pass along some of the largesse from you and your kiddies to MY kiddies, if I’m feeling extra generous at the time.

Can’t beat that.

hat tip: Aly at Addison Road

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