Bush held firm on Iraq and got it right when all about him were wobbling
History will speak well of him
Now that even Barack Obama has acknowledged that President Bush's surge in Iraq has "succeeded beyond our wildest dreams," maybe it's time the Democratic nominee gives some thought to how that success actually came about -- not just in Ramadi and Baghdad, but in the bureaucratic Beltway infighting out of which the decision to surge emerged.
Consider what confronted Mr. Bush in 2006. Following a February attack on a Shiite shrine in the city of Samarra, Iraq's sectarian violence began a steep upward spiral. The U.S. helped engineer the ouster of one Iraqi prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, in favor of Nouri al-Maliki, an untested leader about whom the U.S. knew next to nothing. The "Sunni Awakening" of tribal sheiks against al Qaeda was nowhere in sight. An attempt at a minisurge of U.S. and Iraqi forces in Baghdad failed dismally. George Casey, the American commander in Iraq, believed the only way the U.S. could "win" was to "draw down" -- a view shared up the chain of command, including Centcom Commander John Abizaid and then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
From the State Department, Condoleezza Rice opposed the surge, arguing, according to Mr. Woodward, that "the U.S. should minimize its role in punishing sectarian violence." Senior brass at the Pentagon were also against it, on the theory that it was more important to ease the stress on the military and be prepared for any conceivable military contingency than to win the war they were fighting.
Handed this menu of defeat, Mr. Bush played opposite to stereotype by firing Mr. Rumsfeld and seeking advice from a wider cast of advisers, particularly retired Army General Jack Keane and scholar Fred Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute. The President also pressed the fundamental question of how the war could actually be won, a consideration that seemed to elude most senior members of his government. "God, what is he talking about?" Mr. Woodward quotes a (typically anonymous) senior aide to Ms. Rice as wondering when Mr. Bush raised the question at one meeting of foreign service officers. "Was the President out of touch?"
No less remarkably, the surge continued to face entrenched Pentagon opposition even after the President had decided on it. Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went out of his way to prevent General Keane from visiting Iraq in order to limit his influence with the White House.
The Pentagon also sought to hamstring General David Petraeus in ways both petty and large, even as it became increasingly apparent that the surge was working. Following the general's first report to Congress last September, Mr. Bush dictated a personal message to assure General Petraeus of his complete support: "I do not want to change the strategy until the strategy has succeeded," Mr. Woodward reports the President as saying. In this respect, Mr. Bush would have been better advised to dictate that message directly to Admiral Mullen.
The success of the surge in pacifying Iraq has been so swift and decisive that it's easy to forget how difficult it was to find the right general, choose the right strategy, and muster the political will to implement it. It is also easy to forget how many obstacles the State and Pentagon bureaucracies threw in Mr. Bush's way, and how much of their bad advice he had to ignore, especially now that their reputations are also benefiting from Iraq's dramatic turn for the better.
Democrats' hair of the dog remedies
"The private sector got us into this mess. The government has to get us out of it," said Barney Frank, which illustrates why conservatives often say liberals have a socialist bent.
Free market conservatives understand that many problems have been caused by government's officious intermeddling in the private sector. The subprime mortgage crisis is no exception. History has shown that liberal prescriptions don't work, but when they fail, liberals invariably not only deny responsibility for their do-gooder manipulation but also insist on even more government intrusion. Think of it as "the hair of the dog" remedy on steroids.
For example, many of our health care problems can be traced to increased government control and the reduction of market forces. Yet the liberal solution is full-blown nationalized health care. Never mind that it doesn't work anywhere in the world and always leads to waiting lines and inferior health care. Never mind that the United States has the best health care in the history of the world, notwithstanding admittedly serious problems.
Another example is Social Security. Instead of creating a trust fund segregated from general revenues, congressional liberals with an insatiable appetite for spending raided Social Security revenues from day one. The system has been one big Ponzi scheme funded by IOUs from one arm of government to another. Bill Clinton and Al Gore had the audacity to propose a "lockbox" to secure Social Security, when their ideological predecessors happily breached their promise for the original lockbox.
But what did liberals do when President Bush proposed that people be allowed to set a portion of their Social Security funds aside in private accounts? They called it a risky scheme to benefit Wall Street. Barack Obama is the latest in a long line of liberal demagogues to make this claim, but his ad on this subject was so distorted as to earn a reprimand from FactCheck.org.
When liberalism causes a problem, by all means, don't allow the natural equalizer of the free market to cure it. Insist on more government intervention under the theory that the problem is a result of too little government. It's kind of reminiscent of the Marxist promise of the withering away of the state, is it not? Just give us totalitarian control and we'll eventually unshackle the proletariat from government bondage. Right. There's also a bridge to the Kremlin they'd like to sell you.
Which brings us back to the current subprime mortgage crisis. When we strip away all the complexity, we discover that social planning largely led to this debacle. Government politicians and bureaucrats forced lending institutions to make un-creditworthy loans and helped create unnatural demand in the housing market by priming the pump on bad loans. This created an unnatural price bubble in real estate, which was securing these ill-advised loans. When the bubble inevitably burst, the mortgages secured by the artificially inflated real estate plummeted in value, which left us with an epidemic of grossly under-secured loans.....
The Democrats will never take responsibility for the mess they made and they would rather look for scapegoats than a solution. When a solution is designed you can expect that Democrats will be trying to get their hands in the cookie jar for more for their constituents instead of solving the problem.
An interesting post here about Pinochet and Allende in Chile. A point that I had missed is that Pinochet was actually appointed to the top army job by Allende himself!
Feminist Naomi Wolfe lapses into full-blown paranoid schizophrenia: "Almost everyone I work with on projects related to this campaign for liberty has been experiencing computer harassment: emails are stripped, messages disappear. That's not all: people's bank accounts are being tampered with: wire transfers to banks vanish in midair. I personally keep opening bank accounts that are quickly corrupted by fraud. Money vanishes. Coworkers of mine have to keep opening new email accounts as old ones become infected. And most disturbingly to me personally is the mail tampering I have both heard of and experienced firsthand. My tax returns vanished from my mailbox. All my larger envelopes arrive ripped straight open apparently by hand. When I show the postman, he says "That's impossible." Horrifyingly to me is the impact on my family. My childrens' report cards are returned again and again though perfectly addressed; their invitations are turned back; and my daughters many letters from camp? Vanished. All of them. Not one arrived."
Obama vs. Biden: "So in the last 24 hours we have seen Joe Biden call an Obama campaign ad terrible and say it would never have happened if he had known about it; Barack Obama say Joe Biden should not have opposed the AIG bailout last week; and Joe Biden disagreeing with Obama's position on clean coal and telling a voter (rather unpleasantly) that his view, not Obama's, is the campaign's position. Not a great sign from the guys who argue that running a campaign is a substitute for executive experience."
The Palin surge shows up the feminists: "McCain's hand grenade has exploded the rot at the core of today's feminists; and by exposing the inner emptiness of feminism, she has also torn apart the center of all the victimhood/identity politics that have driven the Democratic Party for a generation. The Party of Nothing--with all their pious intonations about victimhood and diversity; hope and change--stands before us in the pseudopersona of the Obamessiah and his dedicated minions, who will do anything for him. Meanwhile, Sarah continues to draw in the crowds and revitalize the Republican conservative base. How frightening that must be for the "progressives" of the left."
Follow the money: Barack Obama Edition : "Writing at the American Thinker, Mac Fuller describes the flow of funds around Barack Obama in an exquisitely documented article. Did you know that the Reverend Jeremiah Wright has received $15 million in federal funds? Yep, that's the same Wright who accompanied Nation of Islam chief Louis Farrakhan on a trip to Libya (and the Pan Am 103 mastermind Muammar Gaddafi), published Hamas propaganda in his newsletter and espoused racially divisive, anti-American rhetoric for decades. All the while, he was collecting millions in taxpayer funds from "G*dd**n America, the USKKK of A" (his words). Unsettling to say the least."
For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH (2), TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)